26 April 2021 10:52 AM GMT
Hearing suo moto cognizance matter related to the tsunamic second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inadequacy in medical infrastructure to tackle the same, the Chhattisgarh High Court today directed the State Government, "To convene a meeting of all concerned to take stock of the situation as to the Oxygen supply/availability as on date and the imminent future requirement....
Hearing suo moto cognizance matter related to the tsunamic second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inadequacy in medical infrastructure to tackle the same, the Chhattisgarh High Court today directed the State Government,
"To convene a meeting of all concerned to take stock of the situation as to the Oxygen supply/availability as on date and the imminent future requirement. Prudent steps shall be taken forthwith to ensure that no patient loses life in this State, for cessation of supply of Oxygen."
The Bench of Chief Justice P. R. Ramachandra Menon and Justice Parth Prateem Sahu directed the State that in case there was any chance for shortage, immediate arrangements shall be made to stall or reduce the industrial supply for a short while.
"Unstinted support is necessary, to be extended from the part of the Industrial Sector in this regard, taking it as part of their 'Mission' in discharging the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)," added the Court.
When clarification was sought with reference to the photographs of some patients (appeared in a Daily) being supplied with Oxygen by making them to lie on the floor in the CIMS, Bilaspur, the Advocate General submitted that the media report was rather mischievous and it does not reflect the correct picture.
Further, it was submitted that that effective treatment was being given to all concerned and that arrangements have been made to provide Oxygen supply to the patients who come to the hospital even in the 'Out-Patient Department' itself, if their condition appears to be critical or such assistance is warranted.
The State Government also submitted that existing facility have been beefed up and adequate extent of bed capacity/Oxygenated bed capacity had been facilitated in the State (with the involvement of both Government and Private Hospitals).
It was also stated that the situation could be tackled even without the necessity for any Special Medical Coaches of the Railways, more so since beds (both Oxygenated and Non-Oxygenated) were lying vacant in many Hospitals at different 6 places.
Further, it was also submitted that the Doctors, after considering the condition of the patient, have to decide whether hospitalization was necessary or not and that the patients who are in such situation/critical condition would be admitted in the Hospitals.
The State also assured the Court that steps on war footing were being taken and availability of infrastructure had been boosted up many folds from the situation which existed in March 2020.
On the other hand, the Union of India assured the Court that all necessary steps would be pursued from the part of the Central Government to provide assistance by way of medicine/infrastructure/Oxygen 10 supply/testing kits etc. to meet the requirement of the State.
Having heard both sides, the Court observed that no direction was warranted to be issued to the Railways or the State to provide/take over Special Medical Coaches of the Railways, for the time being, for treatment of the Covid19 patients.
However, the Court did record that as and when necessary, it shall be for the Nodal Officer of the State to make requisition to the Nodal Officer of the Railways, who shall act upon the same and make necessary arrangements for allocation and placement of the Special Medical Coaches; in terms of the Guidelines and SOP issued by the Ministry.
The State Government was directed to increase the RTPCR tests to the optimum level, so that it can effectively contain the Covid-19 and break the chain.4
However, when Amicus submitted that there was inordinate delay in furnishing the RTPCR test reports, the Court importantly remarked,
"This is a serious aspect to be taken note of and timely conducting of the maximum number of RTPCR tests and supply of test reports without any delay is very much essential to curb the spreading of the disease as repeatedly being insisted by the experts."
The Court also issued the following directions to the State Government: -
The Court also observed that a 'Centralised Network' was essential to ascertain the vacancy position of beds in various Hospitals, including private Hospitals, situated in different districts in the State for proper management and admission of the patients, whenever needed.
The Court also remarked,
"A system has to be evolved whereby the different CMHOs of the different Districts are connected together and brought under a common umbrella, to be monitored by the Nodal Officer/Director/Secretary of Health Department at Raipur."
In the said circumstance, the Court directed the State Government: -
Fixation of charges
The Court also directed the State to consider fixation of the ceiling of rates with regard to the Covid treatment in private Hospitals, to be sorted out and notified, so as to avoid exploitation if any.
Case Title: Suo Moto PIL v. State of Chhattisgarh & Ors.
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