As a three-year-old on manual resuscitator breathed his last on February 10 while his parents could not get a ventilator bed in the LNJP hospital in the national capital after he was admitted to the hospital on January 24, a disquieted Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government to consider providing at least 10 per cent of the total beds with ventilator facilities in all its hospitals.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao said so as advocate and social activist Ashok Aggarwal presented the sad state of ventilator facilities in government hospitals.
Aggarwal filed a statement in the court informing it that of the total 400 ICU beds with ventilators available in government hospitals, 52 were not functional.
"The same gives an abysmal reading inasmuch as, against 10059 beds only 400 ICU beds with ventilators are available in government hospitals. That apart, 52 ventilators are not functional…If the statement given by Mr. Aggarwal is correct, only 3.4% accounts for ICU/ non-ICU beds with ventilators, which figure is negligible/ insufficient," said the court.
"The status report (filed by the Delhi government) does not give any information since when the 52 ventilators are non-functional. That reduces the availability of ventilator beds to only 348…It is expected that at least 10 per cent of the total beds (as is noted in most private hospitals) must have ventilator facilities to cater to the large population in a city like Delhi," it said.
The court has now asked the Delhi government to examine this aspect and file a status report.
The court has been hearing a suo motu petition initiated in the year 2017 following a news article about the death of a new-born for want of ventilator in a government hospital.
Recently, Aggarwal brought to court's notice the case of the three-year-old child suffering from a brain-related medical condition on a manual resuscitator and how no steps were being taken by the government to inform the public about facilities available at its hospitals.
The boy breathed his last on February 10.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government filed a status report stating that a control room is functional in the Directorate General Health Services, GNCTD, which collects data regarding availability of ventilator beds, dengue beds from all public hospitals under Delhi government.
It said the control room provides information to the public at large and can be accessed round the clock at 011-22300012/22307145.
It also informed that the State Programme Officer, Delhi State Health Mission, has been requested to prepare a web portal for information about bed/ventilator availability in public hospitals.
Expressing inability to start providing real-time information about the availability of ventilators/ beds, the government said the information will be uploaded in a day, i.e., in the morning, by the hospitals.
Expressly stating that "private hospitals are expected to provide free medical facilities to persons belonging to EWS category. They can also avail the benefit of ventilator facilities in these private hospitals", the court asked the government to make available with its control room and web portal the information about the availability of ventilator beds in private hospitals.
It has also directed hospitals managed by the Centre to also operate a control room on the lines of the Delhi government and publicize its contact numbers through public notices in media.
Read the Order Here