Immediate medical help part of right to life: High Court

Asks Centre to examine possibility of providing addl ventilators to GMSH

Immediate medical help part of right to life: High Court

Photo for representation only

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today reiterated that the right to life encompassed immediate medical help before directing the Centre to examine the possibility of providing additional ventilators to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16.

The Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh asserted that the hospital was centrally located and patients normally approached it in the first instance. Referring to the issue of supporting staff, the Bench added that it may be examined by the Secretary, Health.

“If it is found that more staff are required in this emergency situation, he is at liberty to recruit the same on a contract basis, in case a provision to this effect exists in the rules,” the Bench ruled.

The assertion came after amicus curiae Rupinder Khosla emphasised the need for more ventilators at the GMSH. He added that six ventilators were functional following the intervention by the Bench headed by Justice Gupta several years ago. At that time, the pandemic was beyond the realm of imagination.

The Bench added that all states were aware of the critical care the PGI, through its advanced medical expertise, was providing. As such, all states were required to cooperate “in every respect” to ensure that its functioning remained smooth and efficient.

The assertion came in reference to senior counsel Anupam Gupta’s submission that the PGI, being a premier medical institute, was also catering to the needs of nearby states such as Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. It was required to be ensured that it did not face any problem in technical support or oxygen supply.

Appearing before the Bench, UT senior standing counsel Pankaj Jain submitted that uniform anti-corona measures were being undertaken in the tricity. War room meetings were being held regularly by the UT Administrator with the Deputy Commissioners of Mohali and Panchkula, along with other officials and doctors at the PGI. The Administrator was also in touch with the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to tackle the Covid-19 situation in the region.

Jain said two committees had been constituted. In case of emergency anywhere in the tricity, the authorities concerned would provide oxygen, medicines and medical equipment such as ventilators to each other to avoid any untoward incident.

Jain further submitted that a request had also been made to keep a separate quota of five MT of liquid oxygen exclusively for the PGI. “As regards the supply of drugs such as remdesivir and tocilizumab in the tricity, any private hospital was free to make an application to the Director, Health and Family Welfare, and the same would be made available rationally at the earliest, he added.

The Bench was also told that steps had been taken to ensure rational use of oxygen. A senior PCS officer had been deputed to ensure timely supply of oxygen to private hospitals in accordance with the daily quota.

Centrally located

The Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh asserted that the hospital was centrally located and patients normally approached it in the first instance. Referring to the issue of supporting staff, the Bench added that it may be examined by the Secretary, Health. “If it is found that more staff are required in this emergency situation, he is at liberty to recruit the same on a contract basis, in case a provision to this effect exists in the rules,” the Bench ruled.

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