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Non-availability of Ventilators and ICU is not a valid reason to deny admission to the Hospital [COVID-19]

The Hon’ble High Court of Bombay in Court in its own Motion Vs. Union of India through its secretary and Ors., (R) , held that the state is duty bound to make all infrastructural and medical facilities available to save the life of people affected or likely to be affected by Coronavirus.

It was observed by the Hon’ble Court that “The main issue which requires our immediate attention is of making the ventilators and oxygenated beds available to the patients of moderate and severe conditions so as to reduce the death rate. The people are required to travel from one Hospital to another with serious patients and for want of accommodation, the newspaper report shows that the deaths are occurring. We must note with regret that for want of medical aid, the people are falling pray to Corona Virus. We, therefore, thought that without going into the legal niceties, an immediate arrangement can be worked out to reduce the death rate. Hence, we try to work out the solution.”

 

The Hon’ble Court while examining the issue of non-availability of beds observed that “The problem of non-availability of the medical and para-medical staff can also not be a problem to deny the admission in the Hospital to the patients. Even private Doctors are under obligation to provide the treatment. The preservation of human life is of paramount importance. Once the life is lost, it cannot be restored. Every Doctor whether he is in Government or Semi-Government Hospitals or private professional is under obligation to extend his services with due expertise for protecting the life. Even private Doctors cannot refuse to render their services during pandemic in all such Hospitals where they are called or their services are needed. Similar is the position in respect of para-medical staff. It is the obligation on the State to secure adequate para-medical staff from all such sources as are available and non-availability of it cannot be countenance.”

 

It was held by the Hon’ble court that “We do not want a situation to occur where the patients are required to travel from one Hospital to another to secure the position in ICU, ventilated beds or oxygenated beds or due to non-availability of the services of medical and para-medical staff. If any patient requires medical assistance and approaches any Hospital or DCHC where such facility is not available for any reason whatsoever, such Hospitals or DCHCs should immediately make necessary enquiry and help the patient to reach to the proper destination. It shall be the duty of the Municipal Commissioner and the Task Force to see that all the Hospitals and DCHCs should provide the information and contact numbers of the Hospitals where such facilities can be easily made available and the patients are not required to travel from pillar to post. We have seen the affidavit of the Municipal Commissioner and we find that such responsibility is shouldered by the Municipal Commissioner. We also expect the Task Force to spring in action to supervise the infrastructural facilities and man power in the Hospitals and DCHCs.”

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