Dealing with a PIL related to the COVID management in the State of Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday (April 28) directed the State Government,
"Let there be not a situation where the administration is caught unawares in the event of deterioration of the situation and patients are deprived of getting medical attention and treatment."
The Bench of Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice C. Praveen Kumar also asked the Government to continuously monitor the situation and prepare a road map for the future so that the authorities can effectively deal with the situation even if the number of infected cases continue to rise.
State's and Petitioners' submission
Pursuant to the Court's last order, the State Government filed a comprehensive affidavit with regard to the steps taken by the State to deal with the present COVID-19 pandemic and it was submitted that presently, there was no shortage of hospital beds and a dearth of oxygen.
However, the counsel for the petitioners stated that they have heard in various cases, admissions are denied in hospitals and in many cases, hospitals are demanding money and those who are unable to meet such demand, are denied admission.
It was also submitted by the counsel appearing for the State that no specific instances were brought to their notice but since statements are made by the learned counsel for the petitioners, they would certainly look into this aspect of the matter and take the necessary steps.
It was also submitted that appropriate directions would be given to all the hospitals not to refuse admission to any patient if beds are available and that it will be made clear that strictest action in accordance with the law would be taken if any such incident is found.
Further, the Court directed the State to prominently display in each and every notified COVID hospital the name of the Nodal officer as well as his telephone number so that any patient/attendant, in case of facing any difficulty in the hospital, can easily approach such Nodal Officer and seek remedial measures.
When the State submitted that flying squads have been set up to inspect the hospitals frequently, the Court asked for a Memo, by the next date, indicating number of such inspections in the hospitals by the flying squads and their observations in the hospitals.
Regarding the delay in receiving testing results, the Court said,
"This is an area which the State must look into with promptitude as the delayed reporting may have adverse consequences and are likely to contribute to further infections because of the contact of infected people with others. All possible steps should be taken without compromising the integrity of the sample and the process involved in such testing so that test results can be given as early as possible."
The Court also noted that in spite of the notification dated 23rd April 2021 which provides that COVID Care Centres shall render services to those patients who cannot maintain home isolation, one Nagaraju of Ajit Singh Nagar, Vijayawada, was denied admission.
To this, the Court said,
"It would be necessary for the State to look into the matter because it may not be an isolated incident of this kind. We also note the submission that because of such refusals many COVID Care Centres are not full."
On the next date, the State has been directed to apprise the Court with regard to the case of the said Nagaraju.
Now, the matter has been posted for consideration again on 04th May 2021.