29 April 2021 11:38 AM GMT
Noting that there was an acute shortage of medical oxygen in the State, particularly in the hospitals treating COVID patients, the Patna High Court on Wednesday (April 28) directed the Central Government, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to take all possible measures to ensure that the quota fixed for the State Government. The bench of Justice Chakradhari...
Noting that there was an acute shortage of medical oxygen in the State, particularly in the hospitals treating COVID patients, the Patna High Court on Wednesday (April 28) directed the Central Government, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to take all possible measures to ensure that the quota fixed for the State Government.
The bench of Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Mohit Kumar Shah was hearing 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.
Court's order Regarding oxygen supply
At the outset, the Court noted that as on 26th April 2021, the State of Bihar had received only 90 MT of oxygen out of its quota of 194 MT and despite that, the State had submitted that the said supply coupled with the availability of oxygen generated in the State through various sources was adequate to meet the requirement of medical oxygen for treating patients in the State of Bihar as on 26.04.2021.
To this, the Court said,
"On the basis of what has emerged during course of hearing today, we have no hesitation in recording our specific finding that the said stand taken on behalf of the State of Bihar was totally incorrect and is accordingly rejected."
Further, the Court directed the Central Government, to ensure that the quota fixed for the State Government of supply of 194 MT per day was made available to the State of Bihar and that it should not remain on papers only.
"We reiterate that there is a requirement of continuous supply of oxygen and in our opinion, any discontinuity of such supply shall lead to virtual collapse of the healthcare system," added the Court.
Court's order Regarding bed shortage
On the basis of previous orders passed by thE Court and facts brought on record by and on behalf of the State Government, the Court was of the opinion that the State of Bihar was not in a position to increase the number of COVID beds in government and private hospitals because of shortage of oxygen and was, unfortunately, determining the requirement of oxygen merely on the basis of a minuscule number of beds which have been made available compared to the actual need.
"The number of beds, particularly in its capital, Patna, are wholly insufficient and not at all in a position to meet the requirement in the background of the rising rate of COVID patients," added the Court.
Consequently, considering a large number of beds available in IGIMS, Patna, and the decision of the State Government to convert the said hospital into exclusive Dedicated COVID Hospital, the Court directed the Respondents-State of Bihar,
"To ensure that continuous supply of oxygen in the hospital is maintained and officials/ doctors of the said hospital are not made to beg for oxygen before the officials of the State Government. Any lapse on the part of the respondents, having the consequence of irregular/short supply of oxygen in the hospital, shall be viewed seriously by this Court."
We Court also directed the State Government to take all possible measures to ensure that the facilities available at Patliputra Sports Complex are put to use for the treatment of COVID patients as soon as it is possible, preferably within three days.
Availability of Doctors
Noting that 4149 posts of specialist doctors and 3206 of general doctors were vacant and as against total sanctioned posts of 91921 at various levels, 46,256 posts were vacant,, the Court remarked that it was high time when the State Government looks into the aspect and takes remedial measures.
Lastly, the Court asked the State Government as to what is the basis for determination of the number of COVID deaths in the State and what are the sources that feed data in relation to such deaths.
Both these issues would be taken up by the Court on the next day of the hearing.
Click here To Download Order