Order of the Supreme Court of India regarding proper treatment of COVID-19 patients, 12/06/2020

  • 12/06/2020

Order of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of 'In Re the proper treatment of COVID19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in the hospitals'dated 12/06/2020.

The cognizance of suo motu writ petition has been taken on the basis of media reports and programmes aired in several channels presenting horrific scenes from LNJP hospital in Delhi, which is a Covid dedicated hospital.The patients are in the wards and the dead bodies are also in the same wards. Dead bodies are seen also in the lobby and waiting area. The patients were not supplied with any oxygen support or any other support, no saline drips were shown with the beds and there was no one to attend the patients. Patients are crying and there was no one to attend them. The hospital has a capacity of 2000 beds but as per government app, only 870 beds were occupied as on June 11, 2020.

The Government App itself gives the details of beds occupied in the Government and Private hospitals in Delhi. In the Government hospitals, the number of beds is 5814, out of which 2620 are occupied. The reports also indicate that the patients suffering from Covid-19 are running from pillar to post to get admission in the hospitals whereas large number of beds are lying vacant in government hospitals. The large number of beds in government run Covid hospitals being vacant in a situation where patients suspected of Covid-19 are running from pillar to post to get admission in any hospital tells about the mismanagement and sorry state of Government hospitals in Delhi, the SC said.

The State was not only duty bound to increase the number of beds but also to provide appropriate infrastructure and staff for manning the Covid-19 patients.The State on whom the duty lies to take care of health of its citizens cannot abdicate its responsibility of ensuring that all hospitals including government hospitals take care of the Covid-19 patients. The duty of the State of NCT Delhi does not end in informing the people that it has arranged 5814 beds in government hospitals and 9535 beds including private hospitals.

The State and its officers are also duty bound to ensure that patients are taken care, attended, provided all medical facility, the hospitals have necessary infrastructure and staff, the Supreme Court order of June 12, 2020 read.

The SC directed the Chief Secretaries of the States to immediately take appropriate notice of the status of patients’ management in the Government hospital in their respective states and take remedial action. Status report with regard to government hospitals, patient care and the details of the staff, infrastructure should be brought before the Court so that appropriate directions be issued by the Court as found necessary on the next date of hearing, SC said.