Ahmedabad, May 24: The Gujarat High Court criticised the State authorities over the shabby health infrastructure at the Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital, amidst rising cases and fatalities due to COVID-19.

The Division Bench of Justices J.B. Pardiwala and I.J. Vora, while taking suo moto cognisance of the matter, sought to know how many times the Health Minister and senior officials of the Health Department had visited the hospital, The Hindu reported.

“Does the Health Minister of the State of Gujarat have any idea about the problems which patients, doctors, nursing staff and other employees are facing as on date? How many times has the Health Minister interacted with the medical officers and other staff members in person so as to understand their difficulties and problems?” the court asked.

At the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, as many as 377 patients have succumbed to the deadly COVID-19 disease till Friday.

“It is very distressing and painful to note that the condition prevailing, as on date, in the Civil Hospital, is pathetic…We are very sorry to state that the Civil Hospital Ahmedabad, as on date, appears to be in an extremely bad shape,” the court observed in the judgment made available on Saturday evening.

“As we said earlier, the Civil Hospital is meant to treat the patients. However, it appears that as on date, it is as good as a dungeon; maybe even worse than a dungeon. Unfortunately, the poor and helpless patients have no option,” the court remarked.

The Bench also issued a host of directions to the State government to improve conditions for the treatment of patients at the hospital.

The court highlighted the lack of ventilators at the hospital and said, “Is the state government aware of the hard fact that the patients at the Civil Hospital are dying because of lack of adequate number of ventilators? How does the State government propose to tackle this problem of ventilators?”

The Bench suggested improvement in the working conditions of resident and junior doctors, and fixing accountability of senior officers “who have failed to improve healthcare in the Civil Hospital leading to massive loss of human lives”.

Senior medical staff members and doctors have placed the entire burden of treatment of COVID-19 patients on resident and junior doctors while they have stayed away fearing infections.

The court also directed the State government to ask general physicians to run their own clinics or serve in the government’s COVID-19 hospitals, in line with the policy adopted by neighbouring Maharashtra.

To reduce co-morbid COVID-19 deaths, the court directed the government “to ensure all the private clinics/ hospitals/ nursing homes, which have been closed by their owners/ management for the past two months, are immediately opened so as to make supplementary health facilities available to the non-corona[virus] patients at large”.

The State government on Sunday said that the government will discuss the measures suggested by the High Court Bench and also respond with specific details. In a statement, Gujarat’s Health Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that the government was committed to providing the best available treatment to patients.


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