Wednesday, March 27, 2019

HC rules that treatment for genetic disorder can’t be called cosmetic

RELIEF FOR TEACHER-Directs Govt To Reimburse Bills

Medical treatment for genetic disorder cannot be termed as treatment for body shape, Gujarat high court has held so and ordered the state government to reimburse medical bills with interest to a teacher for his daughter’s treatment.

It was a 15 years long battle for an assistant teacher in Rajpipla, Harshadkumar Pandya, who sought reimbursement of Rs 1,53,462 — the amount he had spent in 2002 to treat his four-year-old daughter, who was suffering from Russell-Silver Syndrome, a kind of dwarfism. This is a genetic disorder that causes malfunction of the pituitary gland.
Pandya got his daughter treated on advice of government doctors. She was given an imported drug called Norditropin.

When he sought reimbursement of the medical expenditure, his request was turned down ostensibly because Norditropin was not a lifesaving drug and the treatment undertaken was only meant for physical enhancement.
Pandya approached the high court in 2004.

On Monday, Justice A S Supehia refused to buy the government’s arguments that the treatment in this case falls in the categories — physical comfort/energy, for cosmetic and physical shape.
Medical reimbursement cannot be allowed if a person gets treatment under these categories. The HC said, “The treatment of four and a half years old daughter who was suffering from the disease of pituitary gland known as Russell-Silver Syndrome, a genetic disorder, and if not treated leads to various complications cannot be equated with the aforesaid category.”
The HC further said that the government itself admitted that the child was suffering from the disease. The HC also pointed out that drug Norditropin was nowhere mentioned in the list of imported drugs which are inadmissible for the purpose of reimbursement.
The high court ordered the government to reimburse the medical bills to the teacher with 9% interest within six weeks’ time.

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