‘Consider suggestions from private institutions on medical facilities for non-Covid-19 patients’: Bombay HC
The division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice AA Sayed on Friday was apprised by three petitioners about the absence of requisite medical facilities being made available for non-Covid-19 patients.
The Bombay High Court has directed the state and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to consider the suggestions of petitioners and private institutions to ensure adequate medical facilities for treatment of patients suffering from ailments other than Covid-19. The HC has however said that the acceptance of suggestions would depend on whether they are realistic and within medical protocols.
The division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice AA Sayed on Friday was apprised by three petitioners namely Mehrwan Farshed, Dayanand Stalin and Mutahhar Khan, about the absence of requisite medical facilities being made available for non-Covid-19 patients.
The petitioners through their respective public interest litigations (PILs) had pointed out that many non-Covid-19 patients had been unnecessarily suffering and even death without proper treatment. The petitioners further alleged that Covid-19 and non-coronavirus affected patients had been refused treatment in government as well as private hospitals leading to the death of a number of patients.
One of the petitioners also pointed out that families of elderly coronavirus-affected patients had been forced to wait day and night for hours just for routine medical examination.
The petitioners had prayed that in light of these submissions, the HC should initiate necessary action against hospitals and institutions that refuse treatment to patients suffering from other ailments. The petitioners also sought directions for the provision of adequate ambulances to ferry Covid-19 and non-coronavirus patients and to convert state-run and private buses into ambulances if there was a shortage.
Senior counsel Anil Sakhare appearing for the BMC vehemently opposed the petitioners’ allegations. He submitted that sufficient arrangements were in place to look after the needs of non-Covid-19 patients.
After hearing the submissions through video conferencing, the bench observed, “Having regard to the havoc wreaked by Covid-19 and in the absence of any therapeutic cure of the disease, every possible option ought to be explored so that the suffering of the people at large can be minimised to the extent possible.” With regards to the suggestions of the petitioners and private institutions the bench said, “If indeed what the petitioners and the private institutions suggest are of any help or assistance to mankind, we see no reason as to why the State and the Corporation may not consider the same in its true perspective.”
The bench then directed the petitioners and private institutions to compile a set of all their suggestions by Sunday and to forward it to the state and corporation for consideration upon due application of mind. “We make it clear that the suggestions shall be realistic so that they can be implemented and it shall also be ensured that the same are consistent with the extant medical protocol,” the court observed and directed the authorities to file a report indicating steps proposed to be taken based on suggestions and posted the hearing of the PILs on May 22.