Supreme Court: A bench headed by Dr. DY Chandrachud, J has sought the Central government’s response on a public interest litigation seeking directions to avail WHO-approved protection kits for doctors, especially since they are working under tedious conditions. The bench sought response on the PIL filed by a Nagpur based doctor Jerryl Banait, by next week.
The petition sought directions to ensure availability of World Health Organisation (WHO)-graded protective gear, including Hazmat suits and personal protective equipment, including sterile medical/Nitrile gloves, starch apparels, medical masks, goggles, face shield, respirators, shoe covers, headcovers and coveralls, gowns to all health workers including doctors, nurses, ward boys, other medical and para-medical professionals treating COVID-19 patients.
The plea not only sought this equipment for medical professions in metro cities, but in tier 2 and tier 3 cities as well.
“As there is no specific vaccination to prevent or cure COVID- 19, it is imperative for doctors to be in constant contact with patients, so as to monitor them on regular intervals, and observe their symptoms,”
“In the absence of appropriate protective gear, doctors put themselves at risk of being affected by the virus in the discharge of their duties. It is the duty of the States to ensure graded protective gear to doctors and other welfare facilities, so as to aid them to combat the virus,”
The PIL said that in the cases where the hospitals and health centres are not provided WHO standardised masks and gowns, medical staff mortality will exponentially increase and the situation will spiral out of control in the absence of sufficient medical assistance.
It also sought directions to the government to perform their statutory duty and provide security to doctors and other para-medical professionals, including separate transportation facilities, separate accommodation/ isolation rooms to protect the exposure of their families, and food facilities, etc.