Mumbai: The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court of Justices Ravindra Ghuge and Bhalachandra Debadwar on Wednesday, while hearing a public interest litigation on faulty ventilators supplied to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) at Aurangabad, told the central government that it will be held responsible if the use of such ventilators resulted in any casualty.
The bench recorded this after chief public prosecutor DR Kale submitted a report which stated that a group of 21 experts which included members from the manufacturer Jyoti CNC, Rajkot, supplier Hindustan Latex Limited, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, Director General of Health Services AIIMS, Nagpur, had examined the ventilators and had found it faulty on multiple counts.
The report stated that the ventilators suffered continuous breakdown even after repairs, it had problems with desaturation, water drain issue, the user interface was defective, the oxygen sensor frequently failed. The report also stated that the hospital had 269 trained personnel in the hospital to operate these ventilators.
Anil Singh, additional solicitor general of India for the central government, responded and said that two senior doctors from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Safdarjung hospital would visit the GMCH in Aurangabad to carry out extensive inspection of the ventilators. Singh also told the could that if the ventilators were found to be dysfunctional even after repairs, the centre would consider to replace the ventilators. Singh further stated told the court that the public interest litigation was not an adversarial litigation and the central government would want that patients are treated properly with the aid of the ventilators.
The bench noted, “If the ventilators are found to be dysfunctional ever after inspection or repairs, the manufacturer would be held liable, and that central government will press for replacement of such ventilators keeping in view that a one-year manufacturer’s warranty exists for each of the units.”
The bench then noted, “In such a situation, it would be the responsibility of the central government to ensure defective ventilators are replaced with functional new ventilators.” The bench went on to record that it will not permit any experiment of ventilators, which have undergone major repairs, as it could put a patient’s health at risk and said, “If the use of such ventilators results in the loss of life then it would be central government which will have to take responsibility of such a casualty.” The court has asked the central government to submit a report and kept the matter to be heard on June 7.