Bombay High Court pats doctors, asks govt to implement own circular

Mumbai: Appreciating the service of doctors, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government to ensure its own circular asking private hospitals to admit all patients is implemented in letter and spirit. The HC further said the state is duty-bound to implement its own decision and ensure no patient is denied admission by any private hospitals.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Gangapurwalla and Shrikant Kulkarni said, "Extraordinary time require extraordinary measures. We do appreciate that the fraternity of doctors and those concerned in aiding the treatment have risen to the occasion and are performing their duties and discharging the responsibilities to the best of their ability."

"The state certainly is required to provide all the infrastructure and facilities for the treatment of all patients," Justice Gangapurwalla said in his orders.

The judges were dealing with a suo moto PIL taken up by the HC over a news article in a Marathi daily, highlighting the plight of a pregnant woman, who was allegedly denied admission by a private hospital in Nanded, in view of Covid19 pandemic.

"After declaring the first lockdown due to COVID-19, the patients with disease other than COVID-19 are also not getting admission and treatment in private hospitals. Many private hospitals and dispensaries are virtually closed. This court observed that, some private medical practitioners have stopped practicing due to fear of the virus," the judges noted in their order.

Pursuant to earlier orders, the state informed the bench that the hospital wasn't at any fault and in fact it was the pregnant woman and her family's mistake as they had left the hospital and went to another hospital.

The judges noted that the state had issued orders from time-to-time after noticing dereliction of their duties on the part of private hospitals, nursing homes, clinics in providing treatment to the patients on account of suspicion of COVID-19.

In May this year, a GR was issued directing that no patient reaching the non-COVID hospital (whether government or private) other than confirmed Corona infection, should be denied treatment or admission in the hospital.

"We hope and trust that the state and its authorities shall ensure the strict implementation of the guidelines issued from time-to-time. The government is duty-bound to implement the guidelines in its true letters and spirit and shall not leave any stone unturned to implement the same," Justice Gangapurwalla said in his order.

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