The Delhi High Court has expressed satisfaction over measures taken by the Centre and Delhi government to provide treatment to non-COVID-19 patients including those needing chemotherapy, dialysis and pregnant women, despite the enormous pressure due to coronavirus situation.
The court said if a citizen has any grievance related to medical facilities, it can approach competent authorities in the government for appropriate redressal through helplines and dedicated Whatsapp numbers and also asked Centre and Delhi government to give wide publicity to helpline numbers and continue to render medical aid and assistance to citizens.
A bench of Justices J R Midha and Jyoti Singh applauded and commended the work being done by doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and all others associated with them in various hospitals and dispensaries and clinics.
The bench also appreciated the brilliant work being done by the other government agencies on the administrative side including police, armed forces, paramilitary forces, to name a few, who amongst other tasks are helping the health workers.
Every sector today, be it the Government or the private sector, working in the field of health or administration or law and order, is contributing in its own way, battling the pandemic, which surely includes the citizens, who in their own way are contributing to the fight against COVID-19.
Every single day is posing new challenges. At this stage, therefore, for anyone to undermine the efforts put by the medical staff or the government agencies in providing medical aid and assistance, would, in our view, not only be wholly unfair and inappropriate but also demotivating for those working dedicatedly and tirelessly, 24×7 on ground, the court said in its judgement.
The court’s verdict came while disposing of a petition seeking direction to authorities to provide medical aid and treatment to patients suffering from varied illnesses and diseases, other than COVID-19.
It claimed that most of the hospitals are providing treatment to patients suffering from the effects of the deadly virus while there are other persons who are suffering from serious illnesses such as cancer and kidney problems and need chemotherapy or dialysis on an urgent basis.
The petitioners Yash Aggarwal and Chitrakshi, law students, claimed that hospitals are not attending to many cases of medical emergencies and are refusing to entertain patients who have to undergo dialysis or chemotherapy.
The plea, filed through advocate Sumedh Rishi, submitted that women who are pregnant also need treatment, both during pregnancy and at the time of delivery, as well as at the postnatal stage.
The court, however, said the contention of the petitioners that non COVID-19 patients suffering from cancer or kidney diseases are not being treated, is incorrect .
The court said it was of the view that the authorities have formulated detailed guidelines for putting into place an effective system of treating non-COVID illnesses and diseases to the best of their capacity, given the enormity of the calamity they are faced with.
The bench was assured by the Centre’s counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, Delhi government’s advocate Satyakam and Medical Council of India’s lawyers T Singhdev and Tarun Verma that treatment will be earnestly provided to non-COVID-19 patients, having medical emergencies and those who need treatments such as chemotherapy and dialysis.
The advocates assured medical care to pregnant women, both during pregnancy and at the time of delivery.
The court noted that guidelines indicate that the government has declared services for all crucial areas such as maternal, newborn and child health, prevention and management of communicable diseases, treatment for chronic diseases to avoid complications and addressing emergencies, as ‘essential services’.
There is a clear direction that all health services including Ayush would remain functional, such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, telemedicine facilities as well as dispensaries, chemists, pharmacies, medical laboratories and collection centres, it said.
Various aspects have been covered in these guidelines which also include measures with respect to illnesses like hypertension, diabetes and mental health and diseases such as tuberculosis, vector borne and viral hepatitis, it noted.
The court further said COVID-19 is an unprecedented calamity, globally, which has left no country, across the globe, untouched with its scathing and devastating effect.
It said there can hardly be any doubt that given the magnitude of the calamity and the pandemic, the task undertaken by health workers or the other workers on the frontline, both inside and outside the hospital, of rendering medical aid and treatment to a patient suffering with COVID-19, is a gigantic and herculean task.