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NHRC issues notice to Jharkhand Govt. for alleged negligence in care of two mentally ill patients

New Delhi / Dhanbad: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that two unknown mentally ill patients were not being provided any medical treatment by the doctors in the government-run Shaheed Nirmal Mahto Medical College Hospital (SNMMCH) in Dhanbad, Jharkhand. The media report also carried pictures of the helpless patients lying without clothes on the floor. Reportedly, the Superintendent of the hospital has stated that there are no doctors available to treat mentally ill patients. The hospital staff provides food to them in polythene bags.

The Commission has observed the contents of the media report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of the right to life and dignity of the victim patients. Accordingly, the Commission has issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand calling for a detailed report in the matter within one week.

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The report should include the steps taken and proposed to be taken by the hospital management to improve the situation at the hospital so that the patients approaching the hospital are treated with dignity and not denied medical care. The Commission would also like to know the present status of the medical treatment being provided to both the victims.

According to the media report, a temporary partition has been created in a veranda between the High Dependency Units and Geriatric wards and named as a ward for abandoned/ unknown patients. The medical Superintendent reportedly stated that there is a shortage of staff and things can work for these patients only if some NGO takes care of them.