Telangana High Court: A Division Bench of Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, CJ and B. Vijaysen Reddy, J. directed the State to ensure that ambulances are available on National and State Highways as migrant workers, including pregnant women are using the same to reach destinations.
Concern as placed in the petition for which relief is sought is with regard to the failure of State Government to protect and safe guard meaningful access to essential health services to pregnant women and for neonatal care during COVID-19 lockdown.
Following were the direction sought by the petitioner:
- to ensure that in every COVID-19 hotspot or Red Zone, a Nodal Officer is appointed whose contact number(s) is publicly made available for accessing non COVID-19 related health services, including reproductive health and ensure provision of ambulances which are not ferrying COVID-19 patient
- to institute dedicated help lines for women seeking non COVID19 essential health services during the lockdown and make the numbers publicly available
- to ensure that pregnant women requiring medical. facilities are taken safely and at the earliest to the nearest non COVID-19 designated hospitals “‘
- to ensure that private vehicles carrying pregnant women are allowed to move freely without insisting on a Movement Pass.
- to place a cap on the price/fees charged for medical services rendered by private hospitals/health facilities, relating to childbirth, maternity, neonatal care and abortion services during COVID-19 restrictions / lockdown
- to provide sufficient compensation to the victim’s family from the victim welfare fund.
Another petition was filed wherein direction was sought for respondents to ensure that pregnant women are given urgent care in Government Hospitals in the State of Telangana and not make them run for nearly 200 km, as happened in a heart- wrenching incident occurred in Gadwal (a 20 year old pregnant women, Jenila, from Yapadine village of Ieeja Mandal, Jogulamba Gadwal District) due to bureaucratic interpretation of Guidelines that has tragically led to the death of both the pregnant woman and her just delivered infant and to issue clear instructions to all hospitals to treat patients on the basis of medical emergencies and to not stick to bureaucratic norms that would endanger the lives of the patients as there is every possibility of such tragic incidents recurring in the State of Telangana.
It has been noted by the Court that departmental proceedings have been initiated against the doctors who were found to be negligent in the above-mentioned case of Janila. Though Court would want to whether any criminal action has been initiated against the negligent doctors/hospital.
Court suggests respondents to ensure that ambulances are available on National and State Highways as migrant workers, including pregnant women are using the same to reach destinations.
Thus, Advocate General is directed to inform the Court on the aspect of availability of Ambulances on National and State Highways.
Matter listed on 10th June, 2020. [Sreenitha Pujari v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine TS 497 , decided on 27-05-2020]