New Delhi, Apr 28 (ILNS): As the Delhi High Court continued its hearing of petitions from Hospitals and others on issues regarding the shortage of beds, drugs and oxygen supply, amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, there were suggestions of the Army being called out and to arm the ‘Mohallah clinics’ with doctors, as the first line of defence.
Delhi lawyer Rahul Mehra suggested the Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi & Rekha Palli to conduct meetings every day to sort out the issues. It was also suggested that NOCs (from TPAs and insurance companies) be expedited for discharged patients, to make way for new patients.
About the oxygen issue, Advocate Vineet Malhotra said that in NCR, there are small plants, where one can get cylinders filled now. “After yesterday’s order, police is after them.” Then, there was the issue of injections and drugs. “Patients are not getting injections. It was mooted that a set maximum price may be prescribed. “Milord I needed an injection for my Mom, but I got it for Rs 5 lakh in black. That is the fact,” said Mr Malhotra.
Senior Advocate G Tushar Rao said, “The Delhi Government has Mohalla clinics. Would be a very good option for the first line, where people may be checked whether they require hospitalisation.”
Krishnan Venugopal, Senior Advocate, said, “The big problem in Delhi is that it has become the law of the jungle. People start to bribe people and somewhere, one person brought a gun in Apollo hospital and fired. A very large number of beds are being cornered by people, who do not even need them.”
Justice Sanghi said, “This is not like that…doctors will not admit someone who doesn’t need an ICU bed. How do we verify?”
Mr Venugopal said, “In this situation, the Army should be called in. As far back as 2008, they estimated 1,19,000 beds, but they now seem to have only 54,000.”
Justice Sanghi said, “We wonder if the Delhi government can call for armed forces.”
Mr Venugopal added, “After the permission of the Central government. Today, most of the ambulances are being used for cremation, and they keep standing at the crematoriums. Public places associated with crematoriums or other may be used for cremation. DTC buses may be used for taking the bodies to the crematoriums.”
On Mohalla clinics, Mr Mehra said, “Mohalla clinics are at small crowded places, would not be able handle so much of people. A central number like 101 (helpline) may do the needful. A large number of doctors may be called upon. Any doctor with an oxymeter and thermometer can refer.”
Justice Sanghi said, “Mr Mehra, it is a very good suggestion, the doctors may be called upon.
Mr Mehra said, “I will put it before the Health Secretary and get back tomorrow.”
Mr Venugopal said, “On the point of Army, Mr Mehra may put it before the Health Secretary.”
Justice Palli said, “Mr Mehra, you should explore.”
Mr Mehra said, “There is DRDO and ITBP.”
Rakesh Malhotra, petitioner, said, “There is an aircraft that can generate oxygen.”
G Tushar Rao, Senior Advocate, said, “It is the Tejas Aircraft that can make (a lot of) oxygen in minutes. The Medical Oxygen Plant (MOP) technology was developed for on‐board oxygen generation on the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.”
Senior Advocate Malvika Trivedi said, “Individuals are not being considered for the cylinders and medicines.”
Justice Sanghi said, “Mr Rahul Mehra look into this, otherwise where would they go?”
Mr Mehra said, “We are allowing them. We have asked them to bring Aadhar Card and prescription.”
Ms Trivedi said, “There were individual shops, now they are also denying. There is a shortage of beds, so people are being treated at home. What will they do?”
Mr Mehra said, “Rajasthan government has taken over my friend’s unit with excess capacity, now he is unable to help.”
Justice Sanghi said, “I understand where you are coming from.”
Mr Mehra said: “This is the fourth day, the problem remains the same people with excess supply are unable to help. A war room has to be set up.”
Additional Secretary MHA, Piyush Goyal said: “Milord every state is facing the shortage.”
Justice Palli said, “Mr Goyal how many states are facing the problem like Delhi? You are not doing anything.”
Justice Sanghi said, “Today you want oxygen from 2 states. You go through with the war room.”
The discussions showed that there was hardly any source of oxygen from any other state. Tankers would take five days to fill. Justice Palli asked why, they replied because this had to be done on a daily basis.
Justice Sanghi said: “Mr Mehra, you have said that you have a buffer of 20 Metric Tonne?”
Mr Mehra replied: “This is for the SOS Situation.”
Justice Sanghi said, “You may keep 10MT and other can be used. How many cylinders it can fill?”
Mr Mehra replied, “Up to 100 cylinders.”
Justice Sanghi then asked the refillers to come online. There were 192 participants.
The Judge found the refillers have not come, except one. The Judge asked them to be present at the police station and said that the court was issuing warrants.
It was found that most of the refillers had actually run away, when the court wanted them before it. Some had been persuaded to come.
Naresh Gupta, a refiller, was asked why others did not come. Mr Gupta said he will inform the others. It was stated that for refilling, hospitals will have to wait for 4-5 hours, but individuals have to wait 10-12 hours. It was decided that all refillers of Delhi will meet the Chief Secretary of the state in the evening. ILNS\KR\SJ\RJ