Bombay HC says private doctors, hospitals can't refuse services to patients during pandemic

Patients cannot be denied admission to a hospital on the ground of non-availability of medical and para-medical staff, it said.

Press Trust of India September 11, 2020 00:22:31 IST
Bombay HC says private doctors, hospitals can't refuse services to patients during pandemic

Taking suo moto (on its own) notice of problems faced by patients at hospitals in the district amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Thursday said an ailing person can not be turned away from hospitals because of shortage of beds or staff.

A division bench of Justices Ravi Deshpande and Pushpa Ganediwala said the main issue which required the court's attention is making ventilators and beds available to patients so as to reduce the death rate.

"We want all doctors and para-medical staff to rise to the occasion of the severity of the situation and make themselves available 24X7 in this pandemic situation," the court said.

"We do not want a situation where the patients are required to travel from one hospital to another to secure a bed in the ICU, ventilated beds or (go to another hospital) due to non-availability of doctors and medical staff," the bench said.

If a hospital can not accommodate a patient, the authorities should help the patient reach another hospital, the court said.

Patients cannot be denied admission to a hospital on the ground of non-availability of medical and para-medical staff, it said.

"Even private doctors are under obligation to provide treatment. The preservation of human life is of paramount importance. Once life is lost, it cannot be restored.

"Every doctor, whether they are in government or private hospitals, is under obligation to extend their services," the court said.

"Private doctors cannot refuse to render their services during such a pandemic," it said adding it is the obligation of the state government to make available doctors and medical staff from all sources.

The bench was assured by the Indian Medical Association and a hospitals association that they would submit a list of all the private doctors who render services at hospitals across the city.

Nagpur district Collector informed the court that a task force of 12 doctors has been formed for assigning duties and responsibilities to all the doctors in hospitals.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on 15 September.

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