Case BriefsCOVID 19Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports of medical apathy towards two expecting women by various government and private hospitals in Gautam Budh Nagar and NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh. Accordingly, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks including the action taken against the delinquent doctors/ officials.

Reportedly, in the incident of Gautam Budh Nagar, an eight-month pregnant woman died when a frantic 13 hour hospital hunt failed to find her a bed. The victim aged 30 years was taken to at least 8 hospitals by her husband including the government run hospitals before she died in the ambulance, just outside a health facility in Greater Noida on 05.06.2020. In the second incident of NOIDA, a 26 year old woman was allegedly refused admission by the NOIDA District Hospital in Sector-30 and as a result she delivered a still born baby on the pavement, outside the hospital. The family of the woman has reportedly alleged that had she got timely treatment, the baby could have survived.

The Commission has observed that contents of the news reports, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights as the state authorities have failed to ensure right to life and medical care to its citizens. It is understood that amid spread of Covid-19 virus, the hospitals are receiving a very large number of patients and there is shortage of infrastructure but denial to attend to the patients by the hospitals is a matter of concern for it.

The Commission would like to know from the State Government whether any Standard Operating Procedure has been issued by it to the hospitals to deal with the current scenario, if yes, all the concerned shall be asked for strict compliance so that lives of the people coming to the hospitals in emergency for treatment of illnesses other than Covid-19, could also be saved.

Apart from this, the Commission has also sent copies of the press clippings to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to look into the matter and to issue specific instructions to all the States and UTs that people coming to the hospitals in emergency for treatment of illness other than Covid-19 are not denied medical treatment and critical support by them.

Reportedly, in the first incident, the victim was undergoing treatment at “Shivalik Hospital” which is a private facility, for the pregnancy related complications but when the family approached the hospital to get her admitted, she was forced to run from one facility to another. The family of the victim requested the ESI Hospital, the Child PGI at Sector-30, Sharda Hospital and Government Institute of Medical Sciences, Greater NOIDA but all the hospitals refused to admit her. They also tried to get admission in many private hospitals including Jaypee, Fortis and Max, Vaishali but all allegedly told that there were no beds available with them. The husband of the deceased has reportedly stated that finally they got admission in the GIMS Hospital where she was put on a ventilator but it was too late. The District Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar district has reportedly ordered an enquiry in the matter.

In the second incident, as per media reports, carried today on 08.06.2020, the family had brought the expecting woman to the NOIDA district hospital in an auto-rickshaw. When the hospital denied to attend the patient, they tried to arrange an ambulance but in the meantime, the woman delivered the stillborn girl on the pavement.


NHRC

Press Release dt. 08-06-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar, JJ., took suo motu cognizance of a video clip  wherein a person named Dharmendra Bajaj while recording the same expresses his anguish with regard to helpline numbers given by GNCTD and unable to find hospital for his COVID-19 positive mother.

In the said video, person stated that his mother was found COVID-19 positive ad was admitted on 19th May, 2020, later on 21st May, 2020 the Deputy Medical Superintendent of the said hospital asked him to arrange ventilator and hospital bed in some other hospital.

On trying all the helpline numbers given by GNCTD and visiting several hospitals, Mr Dharmendra Bajaj felt helpless and expressed his anguish by stating that,

“…tall claims made by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) and the Central Government with regard to adequate arrangements being in place – to deal with patients of Covid-19 who require hospitalisation and treatment, are far from true on the ground.”

To the above bench stated that,

The helplines should render meaningful and effective help to the callers. If the experience of Mr Dharmendra Bhardwaj is anything to go by, it appears, that this aspect has not been adequately addressed by the respondents.

Standing Counsel for GNCTD, Rahul Mehra submitted that GNCTD has provided 10 helpline numbers which are efficiently functioning. Further he added that 1075-helpline number is managed by Centre.

Adding to the above submission, Mr Mehra informs the Court that a mobile application is under development, which would give live updates of hospital beds available in Delhi Government and Private hospitals.

Bench on perusal of the above and present situation stated that respondents should assess the adequacy of the helpline capacity and state whether the same is sufficient to deal with the present call traffic and the traffic expected in the foreseeable future, keeping in view the continuous rise in the number of cases being reported each day.

  • Court asks for the capacity created to deal with calls made on the helpline numbers; the nature of assistance rendered, and; the log maintained for the same.
  • GNCTD should consider providing ambulance facility for pickup of COVID-19 serious patients for hospitalisation once they are report of the said case.

Bench in regard to present matter and the video pertaining to which court took suo motu cognizance of the matter asked for the transcript of the said video to be prepared and filed.

Advocate, Om Prakash appointed as the Amicus Curiae to assist the Court.

Amicus Curiae shall call all the helpline numbers provided in order to see the effectiveness of these numbers.

Lastly, the Court asked Centre and GNCTD to file their status report on all the aspects mentioned in the video recording before the next date of hearing.

Matter to be listed on 3rd June, 2020. [Court on its own motion, In Re; 2020 SCC OnLine Del 605 , decided on 26-05-2020]