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Aurangabad GMCH’s faulty ventilators repaired: Keep backup ventilators ready, ensure patient’s health not put in jeopardy, says Bombay HC

The direction was issued by the division bench of Justices Ravindra V Ghuge and Bhalchandra U Debadwar after it was told that 18 faulty ventilators supplied to GMCH by the central government had been repaired.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: June 7, 2021 8:02:39 pm
PMC, Bombay High Court, PMC tax collection, pune news, pune latest news, pune today news, pune local news, new pune news, latest pune newsThe HC sought an affidavit from the state government setting out the information pertaining to the functioning of the authority and issues addressed by it.

The Bombay High Court on Monday directed Aurangabad’s Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) to keep “backup” ventilators ready to ensure the health of patients was “not put in jeopardy” in case the repaired ones malfunctioned again.

The direction was issued by the division bench of Justices Ravindra V Ghuge and Bhalchandra U Debadwar after it was told that 18 faulty ventilators supplied to GMCH by the central government had been repaired.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) submitted that technicians from Jyoti CNC Automations, the ventilator manufacturing company, along with two senior doctors from Delhi had inspected and repaired the defective ventilators.

The court, which was hearing a suo motu PIL on Covid-19 management in Marathwada and North Maharashtra districts, had taken cognizance of the issue in May after chief public prosecutor (CPP) DR Kale, representing Maharashtra government, informed that as many as 113 of the 150 ventilators, supplied by the Centre to the GMCH through PM CARES Fund, were found “defective” by government and private hospitals in Marathwada. The remaining 37 ventilators were yet to be unboxed, he said.

On Monday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the central government, told the HC that while about 5,500 ventilators were supplied by the Centre to the state government, none of the equipment supplied by Jyoti CNC to Maharashtra was financed through “PM Cares funds”.

The HC, meanwhile, directed the GMCH to start testing the 37 unboxed ventilators in phases. The perfectly functional ones, it said, could be utilised for treatment and those dysfunctional and have performance issues segregated.

After the state submitted that it would be difficult to repair dysfunctional ventilators by virtually converting the hospital into a “workshop”, the Centre agreed that the manufacturer may take them back to conduct repairs. Minor defects, the HC said, could be repaired on the spot by a team from Jyoti CNC without disturbing the daily routine of the hospital.

“There is no dispute that these 18 ventilators can be used in the treatment of patients provided the same are supported with standby ventilators/ ventilator backup… This also indicates, as of date, neither the manufacturers, nor the procurement agency, nor the GMCH, Aurangabad, are comfortable using the said ventilators independently without any ventilator backup,” the bench noted.

To avoid “any scope for suspicion and circumspection”, the HC also asked Aurangabad divisional commissioner to seek reports from various districts collectors where over 90 of 150 ventilators were allocated to government and private hospitals. It posted further hearing to June 21.

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