THD NewsDesk, NAGPUR: On 10th September, the Bombay High Court ruled that patients can not be refused admission in private hospitals situated in the Nagpur district while the pandemic continues. Taking suo moto cognizance of reports citing cases of patients being spurned away from private hospitals, the Nagpur Bench of Bombay HC ordered that every patient seeking voluntary consultation must be accommodated.
The Court held that the Right to Life is supreme as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and a life lost can’t be recovered. Therefore, proper diagnosis and treatment are to be provided under any circumstance. The Right to Life comes under the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. It has expanded the scope of Fundamental Rights as a result of successive judgments. They are justiciable and non-negotiable, meaning that infringement of these rights can be challenged in the court of law. Accordingly, preventing someone access to healthcare services on any ground is a violation of this right.
The judgment pronounced by the division bench of justices P. Ganediwala and R. Deshpande is binding on private hospitals and the doctors working there as well. The unavailability of hospital beds and a reduction in medical and para-medical staff can not be used a justification anymore. If a hospital finds its facility unequipped to handle the case, the patient must be responsibly referred to another hospital by the authorities.
“We want all doctors and para-medical staff to rise to the occasion of the severity of the situation and make themselves available 24X7 in this pandemic situation,” the bench said. “We do not want a situation where the patients are required to travel from one hospital to another to secure a bed in the ICU, ventilated beds or (go to another hospital) due to non-availability of doctors and medical staff,” the bench said.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has assured the Court that a comprehensive list of all private doctors that are currently working at private hospitals across the city. Further, the Nagpur District Collector affirmed that a task force of twelve doctors has been prepared to delegate duties to all the other medical professionals.
The second hearing of this case would be held this week to determine further course of action to restrict the Covid mortality rate.