Gujarat High Court also came down heavily over state government over COVID-19 deaths HC observed “The poor must feel that they are being treated like human beings and not animals”
In Gujarat its capital Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital is considered to be Asia’s largest civil hospital.
The court noted that out of total 625 deaths in Gujarat, 570 had been recorded until 20 May in Ahmedabad city alone. Out of these 570 deaths, 351 were recorded in the Civil Hospital.
“The Civil Hospital contributes to 62 per cent of the total deaths,” the high court said. Pointing out data till a particular date, the High Court noted that Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital accounted for 62 per cent of the total deaths in the state. This, it observed, indicated complete lack of critical care.
It then asked if Gujarat Health Minister Nitin Patel and Chief Secretary Anil Mukim had “any idea” about the problems faced by patients and staff.
The Gujarat High Court has taken a serious note of the high mortality rate at Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital and set up a three-member committee of doctors to look into the reported issues in the designated COVID-19 hospital.
A bench of Justice J.B. Padirwala and I.J. Vora was hearing a suo motu petition and some other PILs regarding a large number deaths of COVID-19.
The High Court noted that, during the discussion, it emerged that senior doctors did not visit wards and the situation had not improved despite senior IAS officers being posted.
Taking into consideration a 22-point reported gaps in the administration and treatment at the Civil Hospital, the Gujarat High Court constituted a three-member committee of doctors to look into the issue.
About a fortnight ago Modi led centre government send specialists headed by AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria flew into the Ahmedabad to guide the treatment, a team of private experts comprising Dr Atul Patel, Dr Parthiv Mehta, Dr R. K. Patel and others had reportedly brought these gaps to the notice of the AIIMS chief.
Anonymous letter by Physician did the wake up call :
The High Court also took into account an anonymous letter by a doctor at the Civil Hospital.
In his letter, the doctor had mentioned the situation of the hospital and also stated that if the doctors are not tested then they can prove to be superspreaders.
The physician, in the letter, claimed to have tested Covid-19 positive earlier this month, but had a negative report after a few days of isolation.
He alleged that despite him and a few others testing positive, their contacts weren’t traced and they were instead “criticised” for getting their tests done.
He had claimed that only 10 per cent of the 700 treating doctors were tested.
The doctor had also suggested that there should be partitions between two beds or patients would contract each other’s viral loads, as the viral loads vary from patient to patient.
The court therefore directed improvement of the working conditions of resident doctors, increase in the number of ventilators and oxygen beds, and fixation of accountability of senior officers “who have failed to improve the healthcare” in the Civil Hospital.
The court also referred to a report prepared by a medical officer of the Civil Hospital, which lists down issues with Covid-19 hospitals in Ahmedabad and proposes solutions for these grievances too.
The court clarified that it wasn’t aware of the authenticity of the claims in this report, but constituted a committee of three doctors to look into the issues.
The bench also observed that the doctors who are not performing well be transferred immediately to other districts.
The Gujarat High Court also questioned the state government’s discharge policy. It also stressed on the need to increase oxygen beds and ventilator beds.
The High Court also observed that the Class III and IV employees should be dealt with strictly. It noted that in a recent case, a patient was found dead on a toilet seat after hours as he/she was left unattended.
The bench also made a reference to the movie Titanic, saying that “in these unprecedented times of chaos, uncertainty and extreme stress”, we should be like Carpathia, the ship that rescued 750 passengers from the ill-fated RMS Titanic which sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912.