Gangtok, May 12 (ILNS): The Sikkim High Court has expressed concern over the ‘woefully low’ number of hospital beds that are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients in the state.
The Division Bench of Justices Meenakshi Madan Rai and Bhaskar Raj Pradhan on Monday passed this order, while hearing a suo motu PIL for COVID-19 management. The court has fixed the next date of hearing on May 15.
“The situation in the Primary Health Centres and Sub-Health Centres across the state with regard to preparedness for COVID-19 treatment was also considered and we are informed that emergency arrangements for patients with Novel Coronavirus are almost non-existent and no supplies of Oxygen are available at such centres,” the Court observed.
In this petition, considering the urgency in the matter in view of the prevailing circumstances due to the onslaught of the pandemic, discussions with regard to the immediate concerns were taken up, including bed capacities in the STNM Hospital and across Hospitals in the districts of the state, including ICU beds.
The court was informed that presently, ICU facilities are also not available in the district hospitals. Further, emergency arrangements for COVID-19 patients are almost non-existent and no supplies of Oxygen are available at Primary Health Centres and Sub-Health Centres.
The Court noted that there appears to be a dearth of ambulances for Covid duty and the number of drivers engaged for the existing ambulances. The beds identified for patients with Covid in the STNM Hospital and District Hospitals are evidently woefully low considering the number of persons who are reported to be infected by the virus on a daily basis vis-à-vis the population of the state.
The Court also noted that the testing facilities require augmentation in terms of increasing the number of centres for testing which presently is available only in the East District that too at two Hospitals.
Amicus Curiae reports that arrangements for Grade III and Grade IV staff of the hospitals, who are also Covid warriors are deficient and requires to be addressed immediately if their well-being is to be taken into consideration and the health of the members of their families are also to be considered.
“ICU patients are being brought to the STNM Hospital from other Districts and a lack of coordination amongst the Hospitals with regard to bed availability, admittedly led to the loss of life of a 26 year old woman who was brought in an ambulance from Singtam, but succumbed to the disease, on account of paucity of bed in the ICU and non-availability of Oxygen”, the Petition said.
The court added: Awareness generation with regard to the vaccine registration and the protocol to be followed when patient is found to be tested Covid positive is to be taken up on a priority.
“These points may be taken up for consideration by the Additional Advocate General and report submitted on these counts along with other topics that arose for discussion including strengthening of frontline warriors by way of increase in numbers”, the order said. ILNS/AP/SS/RJ