May 12, 2021 10:27:55 am
The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the Delhi government to come up with a policy on allowing attendants, who could be family members and are willing to look after COVID-19 patients inside the hospitals and said that the patients cannot be left unattended.
“The problem is you are short on medical and paramedical staff and you don’t allow the attendants so that he or she may not get affected. You can’t leave the patient unattended,” the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli told the government.
“If you don’t have enough hands to look after a patient, this man, woman (attendant) will ensure that the man (patient) is eating, is clean, if he has any discomfort… I know of patients who are lying in prone positions for hours together, having lots of aches and pains, and have not enough energy to switch positions on the beds,” continued the court.
Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao submitted that there is a category of patients, like elderly, who are incapable of taking care of themselves. Rao highlighted the case of an 87-year-old woman, who was on BiPAP Machine, and remained without a meal for the whole day. “We have to have doctors, attendants for the vulnerable category or we have to ensure there are attendants,” Rao submitted.
Delhi’s Director General Health Services Dr Nutan Mundeja told the court that they will reiterate that every patient should be taken care of, but sometimes there might be gaps. Mundeja told the court that mothers are allowed inside the wards in case of children and in other cases, request is allowed depending upon the condition of the patient.
“The number of attendants is less in the wards as compared to earlier times. The patients were being taken care of by the attendants allowed by hospitals and now only the government system is required to take care of people, so gaps are appearing. I am not promising anything but we will look at it and we will probably allow attendants on a case to case basis,” she told the court.
Regarding providing information to the family members of patients who are isolated in the COVID-19 wards, Mundeja told the court that every hospital has a helpline for giving information regarding condition of the patient. At some places, patients are allowed video calls through tablets, she submitted. “If the public feels that there is a gap in availability of information, we will reassess the need and see what can be done,” Mundeja told the court.
The court also directed the Delhi government to streamline the process of plasma donation at ILBS Hospital’s Plasma Bank.
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