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COVID-19 : Karnataka HC Asks State To Publish Info On Hospital Beds In Kannada Along With English

Mustafa Plumber
15 July 2020 4:17 AM GMT
COVID-19 : Karnataka HC Asks State To Publish Info On Hospital Beds In Kannada Along With English
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The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the State government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to ensure that the website developed to give real time data of availability of beds at hospitals and facilities for the benefit of Covid19 patients is bilingual and details are available in 'Kannada Language'.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Alok Aradhe said "Give adequate publicity to data of available beds on the web page. Moreover data available is only in English and not in Kannada language. State will ensure that information is available in Kannada and adequate publicity is given to availability of data on the webpage."

The BBMP and Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust ("SAST") have developed software, where real time availability of beds is made known. The said information can be accessed at the following webpage: http://chbms.bbmpgov.in 

The Court also put the following queries to the authorities.

 1: There is only one helpline having telephone no 1912. This telephone no 1912 is provided for BESCOM for receiving complaints of disruption of electric supply. In the monsoon time, more than 20,000 complaints are received on the said telephone number. State must clarify how many dedicated lines are available to receive complaints of failure to get beds at hospitals on this number. As the proper working of this helpline is most crucial. "This is the only mode available for patients and their family to complain about non availability of beds. Government must clarify immediately on this issue.

2: Test result is communicated to the concerned patient through SMS by Laboratories. After receiving a positive test report if a patient desires to get himself admitted in a private hospital whether any guidelines available which will enjoin the private hospital on showing SMS of positive result to admit him. State will have to consider directions to allow admission of patients to private hospitals on showing sms of positive results.

3: Issue regarding those patients admitted on ordinary beds in the public facilities. The issue is when a patient is admitted to an ordinary bed and if he needs immediate transfer to ICU with or without a ventilator, what is the procedure of transferring, without loss of time.

4: The written submission of BBMP indicates that 313 ambulances are available for transporting the persons who are tested positive. Stand of the state is that even 108 ambulances are available. State must come out with the total number of ambulances available exclusively for transporting persons who tested positive, to hospital or facilities.

 5: State will also have to clarify if a large number of lines are available for 1912 helpline can a grievance be entertained of a patient on normal bed who immediately requires to be shifted to ICU.

6: Clarify whether an adequate number of doctors/para-medical staff are available to manage hospitals and so many facilities.

7: Large number of public servants who are members of the staff of State govt BBMP, Police dept, various courts will be discharging their duties continuously even during lockdown. Whether any special facilities are made available to this category of person in case they are required to be tested for various reasons such as becoming primary contacts. The Government will also have to address this aspect.

The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday.

On the queries raised by the court on Monday following written submissions were made by the state government laying down a procedure which is followed to handle a patient who is tested positive for coronavirus:

a. A patient who approaches a fever clinic is checked and if testing is necessary; he is directed to a testing centre. A person can voluntarily also get himself tested at a private testing centre.

b. At the testing centre, the swab is obtained and testing is conducted. Time limits for the testing are as indicated above and can range from 12 to 48 hours.

c. Once a person gives a swab test, he is instructed to self- quarantine until the test results are received.

d. If a person shows symptoms, even before the test is conducted or the test results are received, the person is sent to a hospital awaiting the test results.

e. Once a positive result is received, the ICMR portal is updated with the details and BBMP also receives the intimation of the result of the test.

f. BBMP contacts the patient and visits the patient immediately. BBMP then determines if the patient should undergo home quarantine or institutional quarantine. If the case is severe, then the patient may have to go to a hospital. Ambulances are used to transport the patient to the various centres.

g. A patient can also undergo treatment at any private hospital. The rates for the same are clearly indicated.

h. Helplines are available if a patient is denied treatment.

The court is hearing petitions filed by Advocate Geeta Misra, NGO Bharat Punarutthana Trust and a suo-motu petition initiated based on letters written by Advocate P Anu Chengappa and Advocates Association of Bengaluru.

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