THE DELHI High Court Tuesday stayed a Delhi government order asking some prominent private hospitals to reserve 80% of their ICU beds exclusively for Covid-19 patients. The Delhi government, in a statement later, said it will challenge the order on Wednesday, while asserting that “it is extremely important to reserve ICU beds in private hospitals to deal with increasing corona cases”.
Justice Navin Chawla, while issuing notice to the Centre and Delhi government for October 16 on a petition filed by the Association of Healthcare Providers India, observed that prima facie the order passed by the state appears to be arbitrary and unreasonable, adding that it was also violative of thefundamental rights of an individual.
The court also observed that the disease itself cannot be a ground for reservation, even as the Delhi government submitted that the decision was taken keeping in view the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state.
The court also said that non-Covid patients in need of urgent treatment cannot be expected to run around and the state cannot discriminate between different patients.
The Association, which has 33 hospitals as its members, while seeking quashing of the government order, argued before the court that the government’s decision exposes non-Covid patients to the infection and that it was taken without any prior consultation with the hospitals.
Such an order would directly hamper the treatment of non-Covid patients, such as leading to denial of urgent care required for seriously ill patients, the petitioners have argued.
“Currently, non-Covid patients constitute 45-55% of all admissions in private hospitals in Delhi. Some of these patients are to be mandatorily kept in ICU post their procedure. Hence, reserving ICU beds for Covid patients would mean either hospitals don’t admit non-Covid patients facing imminent death (in case surgical interventions are not carried out immediately) or accept sub-optimal outcomes, both of which may not be the intended purpose of the order, but sadly would be the direct result of this order,” the association has stated in the writ petition.
The government in an order on September 13 had issued instructions to 33 private hospitals to reserve 80% ICU beds for Covid patients, keeping in view the rise in Covid cases in the capital.
The city has been seeing an average of 4,377 new cases in the last 10 days.
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