The High Court of Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday directed not to shift the COVID-19 patients from Sirmaur and Solan districts to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Shimla unless the hospitals at these districts run out of the capacity to attend the COVID 19 patients and that priority be given to treat them at those very places.
A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice L. Narayana Swamy and Justice Anoop Chitkara passed these orders on a petition filed by one Inderjit Singh, challenging the order dated July 16, 2020 of the state government designating the DDU Zonal Hospital, Shimla as the Dedicated Covid Care Hospital for the districts of Solan and Sirmaur also, in addition to the Dedicated COVID-19 Care Hospital for districts of Shimla and Kinnaur.
The petitioner alleged that in a meeting held on 15 May, 2020 overall analysis of equipment and staff was done and it itself reflected the shortcomings of the hospital to be fully equipped and handle the situation as per the guidelines of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, New Delhi.
The analysis reflected that ICU itself is short of basic infrastructure. There is a gap of 11 anaesthetist/medical specialists, 62 staff nurses and 4 radiographers. Besides this, one remote control monitoring system is needed to be installed to decrease exposure of staff. 12 pulse oximeter, 1 defibrillator, electric suction machines – 1 for ICU and 4 for COVID ward, oxygen manifold, 10 oxygen regulator, 1 video laryngoscope, 12 syringe infusion pumps, scrub station, portable X-ray and alpha bed mattresses are also required.
The petitioner prayed that in such a situation when the DDU is not fully equipped, it would be detrimental to public interest to transfer the patients all the way from Solan and Sirmaur to DDU, Shimla.
During the course of hearing, on 7 August, it was pointed out by the Director Health Services, HP. that there are 24 ventilators and given the infrastructure, one Anesthetist can cater to six ventilators only. However, today it was stated that there are now two Anesthetists working to cater to the ventilators.
The Court observed that even if two Anesthetists are available, 12 ventilators still don’t have Anesthetists. Hence, when the infrastructure at DDU itself is incomplete, it does not lie for the state to order shifting of patients from Sirmaur and Solan, unless those hospitals have run out of infrastructure.
The Court posted the matter for 17 August, 2020.