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Patna High Court Orders To Create Dedicated Covid Complaint Email ID For Private Hospitals Facing Oxygen Shortage Due To State's Inaction

Akshita Saxena
25 April 2021 8:08 AM GMT
Patna High Court Orders To Create Dedicated Covid Complaint Email ID For Private Hospitals Facing Oxygen Shortage Due To States Inaction
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"Refusal of admission of COVID patients by any hospital because of absence of oxygen is a serious matter and is likely to be fatal," the Patna High Court expressed. To prevent the same, a Division Bench comprising of Justices SC Singh and Mohit Kumar Shah has ordered for setting up a dedicated "Covid-complaint" email at the High Court. The Bench directed that if any Dedicated...

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"Refusal of admission of COVID patients by any hospital because of absence of oxygen is a serious matter and is likely to be fatal," the Patna High Court expressed.

To prevent the same, a Division Bench comprising of Justices SC Singh and Mohit Kumar Shah has ordered for setting up a dedicated "Covid-complaint" email at the High Court.

The Bench directed that if any Dedicated COVID Hospital (private) has a grievance that it is not getting supply of oxygen because of reasons attributable to the State administration, as per its requirement, such hospital shall be at liberty to inform, through the registered/official email ID of the hospital, the learned Registrar General of the High Court on his email ID i.e [email protected].

"State Inaction In Providing Healthcare To Citizens Violates Article 21": Patna High Court Directs State Human Rights Commission To Conduct Surprise Inspections At Covid Hospitals

Background

The order was passed while hearing of a suo motu case concerning reported deficient healthcare facilities in the State to meet the challenges posed by the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

In its previous orders, the Court had repeatedly indicated that the State Government of Bihar must prepare and come out with a comprehensive action plan for effectively dealing with worsening Covid-crisis in the State.

Centre to take stock of situation in Bihar

During the hearing held this Friday, it transpired that many of Covid centers and hospitals, which were being shown by the Government of Bihar to be equipped with oxygen beds/ICU beds, were in fact not duly equipped with adequate oxygen, on account of unavailability.

In this backdrop, the Bench has ordered the Director-in-Chief, Health Services, Government of India, to send to Bihar a technical team headed by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Director General of the directorate by Tuesday (27.04.2021) to assess the deficiencies, if any, in the healthcare facilities in the State of Bihar in fighting with COVID-19 challenges, suggest corrective measures if needed and submit a report to the Court.

State's efforts in procuring Oxygen not enough

During the hearing, the State of Bihar presented an action plan before the Division Bench regarding supply of oxygen for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The State submitted that the Centre has allocated of a quota of 194 MT per day of medical oxygen for Bihar and accordingly, 72 MT was supplied on 22.04.2021 and 60MT on 23.04.2021.

The Division Bench however took strong exception to this submission, asking the State Government as to why it had failed to procure the full allocated quota.

"Be that as it may, the figures clearly go to suggest that there is still deficiency in supply of medical oxygen for treating COVID-19 patients in the State of Bihar for the reason that admittedly the State Government has not so far received the full quota of oxygen allocated per day by the Central Government and in fact it has received less than half of the allocated quota to the State.

There is requirement of continuous supply of oxygen for treatment of COVID patients and failure to procure the amount allocated by the Government of India is a serious lapse having perilous consequences of grave nature hugely affecting the healthcare system to meet the challenge," the Bench observed.

Oxygen Shortage: Patna High Court Directs Govt To Submit Plan Of Action; Seeks Report On Availability Of ICU Beds, Ventilators

Accordingly, the Court has issued a direction to the Health Department, Government of Bihar, asking it to submit a report by Monday (26.04.2021) stating the circumstance in which the State Government has failed to receive/obtain full quota of oxygen, as allocated by the Central Government.

Establishment of accessible information system

Previously, the High Court had asked the State to hold daily press briefings disclosing facts, illustratively, the number of COVID cases, the infrastructure which are available at various places in the State to admit and treat COVID patients and other cogent information which are required to be disseminated to the general public in public interest.

"No Information Available To Public": Patna HC Directs State To Ensure Public Briefing Everyday Disclosing Cogent Covid Related Information To Public

On Friday, the Bench noted that despite repeated indications, the State Government has not developed any software or other easily accessible information system disclosing all relevant materials useful for persons requiring COVID testing/ treatment/availability of beds (facility wise)/ vaccination etc. or and other related useful information. Further, there is no grievance redressal mechanism in place, in this connection

"We direct the Principal Secretary, Health Department, Government of Bihar to ensure that by Monday (26.04.2021) an effective grievance redressal mechanism in relation to COVID testing/ treatment/ availability of beds (facility wise)/ vaccination is put in place in a manner which is convenient and easily accessible to all," the Bench thus ordered.

Installation of PSA Plants

During the hearing, the Bench was informed that generation of medical oxygen has already started in six out of nine Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals in the State. It further submitted that Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants are being installed at five places by the Government of India.

Accordingly, the Court has asked the Health Department to furnish up-to-date report in respect of installation of PSA plants by the Government of India.

"The Court would expect the authorities to ensure that the process is expedited so as to ensure installation of PSA plants at nine medical college and hospitals as quickly as it is possible," it ordered.

Case Title: Shivani Kaushik v. Union of India & Ors.

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