Stacking of bodies with patients; it is horrific: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday reprimanded the Kejriwal government over the shoddy treatment of patients in hospitals and handling of dead bodies, describing the situation as "horrendous, horrific and pathetic." The court was told that coronavirus patients were being stacked with bodies in hospitals. Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde had on Thursday taken suo motu note of the ill-treatment of patients and mishandling of the dead in the national capital, on a letter filed by former Union law minister Ashwani Kumar of the Congress, who has urged the court to ensure that the right to die with dignity is not violated.

The CJI had assigned the case to a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan for an immediate hearing on Friday. The Bench, which also comprised Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah, issued notices to the Centre and the state governments of Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, besides Delhi, and fixed the next hearing on Wednesday, expressing shock that "COVID-19 patients are being treated worse than animals and, in one case, a body was found in garbage."

IT IS HORRIFIC: SC Expressing pain at the sorry state of affairs in the national Capital, the Apex Court noted how more than 2000 beds remain vacant in hospitals because there is nobody to take care of the patients.It also cited videos whichshow nobody is there to attend to patients crying inpain.

"Beds will go vacantif this is how patients are treated in your hospitals," the Bench said. It also slammed the Delhi government for giving fudged figures and reducing the number of tests. "Why has your testing gone down from 7000 to 5000 a day," the court asked, pointing out that in contrast the number of COVID tests have gone up in metros like Mumbai and Chennai. The court said itis the states' duty to ensure more COVID-19 tests are conducted and the procedure to get tested is simplified; also, no one should be denied a test on technical grounds.

Noting that the guidelines of the Centre are not being followed, the Bench directed the chief secretaries of the four states to take stock of patient management system and submit the status report on hospital staff and patient care.

"Letthenotice be issued today itself and reply be filedunder the signature of chief secretary or secretary of state health department," the order said. It slammed Delhi government for the way the bodies of the deceased COVID-19 patients are handled in violation to the home ministry's guidelines, observing that neither the patient's family is informed about the demise, nor were the bodies cremated or buried appropriately.

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