High court orders hospitals in Delhi to submit details of all admissions, discharges after April 1

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Saturday directed all hospitals in the city to give the number of patients who have been admitted and discharged, including those admitted for over 10 days since April 1, to look into allegations of malpractices and choking of beds amid a huge strain on health care facilities due to the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases
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Published on May 02, 2021 01:49 AM IST
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ByRicha Banka

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Saturday directed all hospitals in the city to give the number of patients who have been admitted and discharged, including those admitted for over 10 days since April 1, to look into allegations of malpractices and choking of beds amid a huge strain on health care facilities due to the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases.

A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said, “It appears that there is choking of beds.” It said that there should be maximum utilisation of beds as people were dying for the want of oxygen beds in the city.

“Looking at the dearth and shortage of beds, particularly oxygen beds and ICU beds, we consider it necessary to have this aspect looked into as there are allegations of malpractice as patients are not being discharged despite having recovered from Covid -19,” the bench said.

“We direct the medical superintendents/ owners/ doctors of all hospitals and nursing homes, including those of Delhi government, Centre and private, to place details of the number of Covid -19 patients admitted and discharged each day from April 1,” the bench said adding that the hospitals shall also give details of the number of patients who have remained hospitalised for 10 days or more and the type of bed occupied by them from April 1.

The court noted that even though admissions are taking place on the 20,938 beds in all hospitals, (including Centre, Delhi government and private hospitals), patients are not getting discharged, resulting in scarcity of beds.

“Looking into the aforesaid number, a substantial number of beds should become available for the other patients. That does not seem to be happening. People who require oxygen support should leave in eight to 10 days subject to the condition of the individual patient, unless the disease worsens,” it said adding “however, it appears that there is choking of beds.

Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, told the court that the government had issued an order to all the hospitals on the procedure to be followed for the discharge of the patients. However, the same is not being followed.He said he could not initiate action or raise this point because he does not have the data.

“Our order is not being followed... We should have data because people are under fear...,” argued Mehra.

The court noted that while 10% people fall severely ill after getting infected with the virus, only 1% is likely to require greater attention and ICU admission. It said that it isn’t clear as to whether the transition of patients from the ICU to oxygenated beds and further is taking place.

The court asked the hospitals to give the data to the amicus curiae who would analyse it further and assist the court on May 6, the next date of hearing. It also asked the Delhi government to update its portal on the number of admissions and discharges every day without fail.

It also said that the portal displaying the availability of beds should be updated by bifurcating the beds in the categories of oxygenated and ICU beds, with or without ventilators.

The court was hearing a plea by lawyer-petitioner Rakesh Malhotra, who along with several hospitals, had sought directions to the Centre and the Delhi government for better facilities and continuous supply of oxygen in the hospitals and nursing homes of the city.

During the proceedings, the bench also sought to know as to why the Delhi government was resisting the help from the Army when the situation had gone out of hand.

“Do we say that you don’t want to? The Army has their own machinery, it works at its own level. They are also importing things from Germany.. They will help and take responsibility....Because looking at the past 10 days, we don’t know if (900+MT) would fructify,” said the bench adding “the augmentation could be a collaborative effort with the army so that resources are not wasted”.

Mehra said the city government is not resisting the army aid and it is being considered at the highest level.

The query was posed by the bench after senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal told the court that the Army can be brought to help the Capital amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The bench also said that there is a need for the hospitals to set up their own oxygen plants after several of them came running in SOS conditions, citing shortage of oxygen. It said that even though none had contemplated such a situation, there is a need to have oxygen plants with the hospitals.

The suggestion ensued after S Bankata, executive director of Batra Hospital, informed the court that his hospital had run out of oxygen supply for one and half hours and there has been loss of lives.

“This is a lesson to be learnt that hospitals should set up their own oxygen plants. We know that everyone wants to keep their profits high, but these are essentials. Maybe you can have 10 rooms less but this is irresponsible,” the court said.

Mehra also contended that there is leakage in the tankers being given by INOX, which could lead to loss of lives. However, advocate Aseem Chaturvedi, appearing for INOX, said that they do not have any more tankers.

Mehra also informed the court that one Gandhi Hospital on Friday made a false statement about not receiving a single oxygen cylinder for the last 48 hours, despite getting one too many.

The hospital’s owner submitted that there was some miscommunication between the management and their lawyer and that there was no intention to make a false statement. The court warned that such false claims shall not be made in future.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021