Discharge of Patients

Last updated on Jun 16, 2022

During any point in the treatment, a patient is free to take discharge or leave from the hospital. For example, hospital authorities cannot force patients to stay in the hospital or restrict them from moving out of the hospital. Similarly, caretakers of a deceased patient have the right to receive his body from the hospital.1. For example, while undergoing treatment, the hospital cannot withhold A’s body from his relatives. Even if the fees or medical bills are not paid for, the body is to be released to the relatives.

A hospital or medical professional cannot hold a living patient, or the body of a deceased patient for any reason including:

  • Non-payment/delay in payment of charges,
  • Dispute regarding any hospital charges.

Under the law, 2this is a crime of wrongful confinement. The punishment for wrongfully confining someone is a jail term of up to 1 year, fine up to  ₹ 1000 or both.3

If the confinement extends to 3 -10 days,  the punishment is imprisonment of up to 2 years or 3 years respectively.4

  1. Charter of Patient Rights, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare[]
  2. Section 340, 341, 342, Indian Penal Code, 1860[]
  3. Section 342, Indian Penal Code, 1860[]
  4. Section 343 and 344, Indian Penal Code, 1860[]

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