‘Poor’ man wants to look better, rejected

An unemployed person and below-poverty-line card holder has approached the court-mandated committee to monitor the treatment of economically weaker section [EWS] patients in city hospitals, complaining against a private hospital which refused to entertain his case for hair transplant under the EWS quota.

Ashok Aggarwal, a member of the committee, says that he will inquire into the matter and issue a notice to the hospital as well as inform the Delhi high court.

Nithar Kumar [name changed] had approached the Fortis hospital in Vasant Kunj some time back for a hair transplant operation under the EWS quota. Kumar says that his case was not entertained by the hospital on the ground that cosmetic operations are not covered under the EWS quota.

Kumar wants to have a thick bunch of hair on his head through the hair transplant method, using stem cells. Talking to Millennium Post, he said, 'I am an unemployed person and I have the BPL card. I asked the hospital to treat me for my hair problems under the EWS quota. Initially, I was asked to show my BPL card and the ration card. Later, I was told that cosmetic treatment is not covered under the EWS scheme.'

Kumar had earlier visited some government hospitals for this treatment, but he ultimately chose the the Fortis hospital. 'Earlier I was doing a private job. Now, I am jobless. I want to be confident about myself and hair is a big part of personality,' he said.

The law is not clear that whether cosmetic things are covered under the EWS quota or not. Different hospitals treat the matter differently. Aggarwal says, 'It is not written anywhere that cosmetic things are not covered under the EWS quota. After all, it is also a treatment that is being offered by hospitals. If that can be made available to the rich, why should the patients under the EWS quota be deprived of it.'          

Private hospitals charge anywhere between Rs 1 lakh to 2 lakh for hair transplant job.

'It is ultimately the court that will decide the issue. I will seek the response of the hospital and will report the matter to the high court,' said Aggarwal.
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