May 3, 2020 12:28:04 am
The Delhi High Court has sought to know from the Centre and the Delhi government about the number of hospitals where patients, who were earlier being provided treatment at AIIMS, “could receive treatment for ailments other than COVID-19, free-of-cost according to their eligibility”.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Yogesh Khanna directed AIIMS to apprise it whether these patients could be provided treatment at AIIMS like before.
“Let status reports in these respects be filed by the respondents (Centre and Delhi government) before the next date (May 8),” the bench said in its order on May 1.
The court’s direction came on a plea by advocate Karan Seth, who sought direction to provide free-of-cost medical treatment to over 100 outstation patients at AIIMS, which stopped OPD services and elective surgeries due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The plea highlighted that the patients are suffering from serious ailments, such as cancer, and that some of these patients run the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus if they continue to live in such conditions.
“… the patients were being provided treatment free-of-charge at AIIMS, or, alternatively, at other government hospitals in the NCT of Delhi,” the plea stated.
Taking note of which, the bench directed the petitioner to prepare a list of patients in respect of whom the present petition has been preferred.
“The said list should include their name, age, the particular ailment that they are suffering from, and the ID number issued by AIIMS (in case they have received treatment at AIIMS), or any other government hospital where they may have received treatment earlier. The said list shall be prepared by the evening of May 4…,” it ordered.
During the hearing, through video-conferencing, advocate Anand Varma, representing AIIMS, submitted that the main AIIMS facility is not an exclusive COVID-19 facility, and that the institute continues to treat patients with other ailments. He urged the court to grant him time to place on record a status report.
Varma pointed out that around 10 days ago, a team of doctors from AIIMS had visited the ‘Rain Baseras’ (night shelters) in the city and identified two patients who required hospitalisation.
Senior advocate Darpan Wadhwa, appearing for Seth, submitted that the Delhi government, on April 13, had come out with an office memorandum on the subject of amendment to the guidelines issued for operating assistance through Delhi Arogya Kosh.
He submitted that the eligibility to avail of the said facility is that the patient should be a resident of Delhi – identified on the basis of EPIC (Voter ID) of Delhi.
The counsel submitted that since these patients and their attendants hail from other places, and are not residents of Delhi, in case they are not provided treatment at AIIMS, they may be deprived of free treatment.
Delhi government’s counsel Anupam Srivastava contended that the office memorandum only deals with the aspect of cashless treatment, which is a facility extended by the GNCTD (Delhi) to the residents of Delhi.
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