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Does Bangladesh need health court?

Published : Thursday, 31 December, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 913
Anika Nower Suvra

Sickness is a factor which is not directly governed by any law. If a patient is ignored by doctor, the result can be dangerous for the victim. In Bangladesh, we often see, in newspaper, that patients get mistreatment. As the result of mistreatment sometimes patient dies or suffers lifetime. There is no strict mechanism of compensation for the victims of mistreatment. Besides, we hardly see any legal action against negligent medical practitioner because in our country a case runs in courts for years. And that is why there is a need for separate health court or tribunal which would deal with such matters and ensure victims interest.

Courts are very significant because they can help to protect our constitutional rights to equal protection with due process under the law. Both criminal and civil courts provide the opportunity for the parties to have their cases heard by impartial judges. This process ensures that all cases are decided fairly and consistently. Courts provide a forum to resolve disputes and to test and enforce laws fairly and rationally.

Courts are impartial forums, and judges are free to apply laws. Court decisions are based on what the law says and what the evidence proves. There is no place in the courts for suspicion, bias, or favouritism. The concept of health court is a comparatively new process but it is now being adopted by many progressive states. Health courts are proposed specialized courts for handling medical malpractice claims and they are characterized by the use of specially trained adjudicators, independent expert witnesses, and predictable damage awards.

For example, Rani Begum was admitted to Darus Shefa Private Hospital and Diagnostic which is located in Kaliganj upazila of Jhenaidah District--when she started having labour pains. Dr Rexana Praveen Ilora was present at the time, said that the operation should be done quickly, otherwise her child would not be saved. At that time a contract of 12 thousand taka was signed for the operation. Shortly afterwards, Rani was taken to the operation theatre but gave birth to a son by normal delivery before C-section. Even then, doctor and manager Masood Hassan forcibly went to Caesar. During this time, the manager slapped Rani several times when she obstructed the maternity operation. Finally, they forcefully anesthetized her and carry on the C-section.

We can see that, as the police have a special role to play in a case, so the doctors do the same. In one case, the doctor's testimony and the inquest report turned the tide. Police will be investigated under section 154 of code of criminal procedure 1898 which means information in cognizable cases. For this reason, the doctor will be liable under the section 307 which mentioned attempt to murder and punishment is imprisonment for life.

Section 326 means voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons and punishment is 10 years and fine. Section 338 provided causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others and punishment for two years or fine which may extend to 5 thousand taka or both Of Bangladesh penal code 1860 Because of their intention and knowledge is very clear.

In Bangladesh, there are 3,976 healthcare facilities in public sectors and 975 healthcare facilities in private sector. According to the estimation, there are only 3.05 physicians for 10,000 people and 1.07 nurses for 10,000 people. Avoidable suffering of patients happens because of doctors' negligence. Under this circumstance, I think in the mentioned incident the doctors have violated Article 32 of Bangladesh constitution and Article 3 of Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR) provided that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Since Bangladeshi courts are overburdened with many civil and criminal cases, medical negligence related cases may increase their burden. On the other hand, people sometimes cannot trust doctors. For this reason, patients go abroad for better treatment. If there is a possibility to establish a medical court with proper rules and regulations, the doctors will not dare to neglect or mistreat a patient. If there is medical negligence continuously running, the common people will suffer in the long run.

Additionally, health courts are seen as speedier and more accurate to determine whether a plaintiff's injury was the result of a medical error or simply an adverse outcome. So, health courts are more efficient for ensuring the expert panel of judges, lawyers for both parties. So, Medical health court is one of the basic needs that deserve consideration. Health courts are proposed specialized courts for handling medical malpractice claims. These courts are operated by specially trained adjudicators, independent expert witnesses, and predictable damage awards.

Successful administrative compensation systems currently exist in New Zealand and Scandinavia. Limited programs are also being operated in Florida and Virginia, USA. Health court is to protect the patients from violation of their right to health and to preserve health care laws. Additionally, it ensures punishment of medical professionals those break professional duties intentionally.

So, the Governments should take the necessary steps to establish the medical health court with the medical jurisprudence which provided the proper application of law and medical science--to ensure better treatment for common people.
The writer is a student, Department
of Law and Human Rights,
University of Asia Pacific

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