Gujarat government’s handling of Covid-19 pandemic is ‘unsatisfactory’: High court
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction with the state government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that the entire exercise lacked “transparency” and highlighting the deaths of patients outside of hospitals due to “the absence of doctors”.
The court also advised against imposing a lockdown and said it was not a solution to tackling the pandemic.
The HC has called on the government of Gujarat to order hospitals to admit all Covid-19 patients who approach them instead of just those who go through the “ 108 ” ambulance service (helpline).
“We are not saying that the government does nothing or that the Company (Ahmedabad Municipal) does nothing, but the way it is done is not satisfactory, not transparent, and therefore all these problems arise”, said a division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Judge BD Karia.
The bench made the observations by hearing a suo motu (alone) PIL on the Covid-19 situation in Gujarat which has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
“If you had a more practical, thoughtful and meaningful working system, it would be much better and there would be a lot less crisis.
“These premature deaths or these unfortunate deaths that occur outside of hospitals due to the non-attendance of doctors should not be happening,” the court said.
The CH raised the issue of the government and designated the Covid-19 hospitals in Ahmedabad to only care for patients arriving in EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) ‘108’ ambulances and ignoring those brought in. private vehicles.
The court said a doctor cannot refuse to treat a patient who did not come in a ‘108’ ambulance and let him die.
“Everyone should be assisted regardless of the vehicle they come from,” he said.
The bench called on the government to ensure that patients arriving in hospitals in private vehicles are also looked after by doctors and are not left “in the air”.
“Why doesn’t the government instruct statewide businesses, government hospitals, designated hospitals, that every time a patient arrives, treat them. A treated patient would be mentally convinced that Immediate care was taken, “said Banc.
When Advocate General (AG) Kamal Trivedi, representing the state, said that it would be difficult to control a constant flow of patients approaching a hospital in private vehicles, the CH suggested that every medical facility should have a notice board outside showing the status of available people. beds.
“We tasked the Principal Secretary of Health to convene a meeting of all stakeholders and decide on a common policy to follow.
“All of these problems are common … companies cannot have their own policy unlike what the government has,” the court said.
The bench questioned the policy of the Municipal Society of Ahmedabad (AMC) not to admit patients to its hospitals from out of town.
“Can you do that? Is it some kind of home that we only treat in Ahmedabad and therefore we cannot treat patients from outside, even though it is critical?” he asked.
The court also questioned the government about people lining up to fill the oxygen cylinders needed to treat critical Covid-19 patients.
The HC sighting came after Advocate General Trivedi said the existing mechanism is to divert the supply of medical oxygen to the Center for allocation to states.
When the GA told the court there was a “sea of difference” in the Covid-19 situation today compared to a week ago, the bench asked him if the government was ready to handle the significant flow of patients in the coming days.
“What will happen on May 1 when the number of patients doubles? Every day there is an increase. Are you ready for it?
“What steps are you going to take? Not all patients will be taken care of and will be allowed to die?” he asked.
The court inquired about the preparations to deal with a new upsurge in cases.
“How does this system work? There is a projection of half a million patients in the next 15 days. What is your preparation? Nothing,” he said.
The court asked the government to consider ways to “break the chain” to contain the spread of the virus.
“It is up to the government and the experts to decide how to break the chain (of transmission),” he said.
When a lawyer appearing in the case insisted on imposing a lockdown in order to break the chain, the court said that unlike in Germany or London, such a step was difficult to pass in India and called on people to stay in self-imposed lockout whenever possible.
“Lockdown is not a solution. By imposing the lockdown, do you know how many people would lose their daily meal? It’s not Germany, New Zealand, London, it’s India. .Why can’t we have our own restrictions and not depend on the government? ”Said the bench.
The court asked the government to ensure that Covid-19 patients receive the full dose of Remdesivir injections.
A civil claim, filed by three people, was incorporated into the DIP. The request seeks court instructions to provide emergency medical oxygen to needy patients.
The PIL will be heard on May 4.