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Monday, April 12, 2021

SC raps states on Covid-19 healthcare: 6 points you must know

Horrendous, horrific, pathetic. The Supreme Court on Friday used these three words to describe how states are treating the dead bodies of Covid-19 patients. The court rapped Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Bengal for treating coronavirus patients “worse than animals”.

A three-member SC bench expressed deep concern over treatment of Covid-19 patients and dead bodies at government hospitals across the country.

SC slams states over Covid-19 healthcare
The Supreme Court of India. Photo: Shutterstock

Here’s what the apex court said to the states in 6 points

1. Treatment “worse than animals” – The bench took cognizance of the reports published in media about the pathetic conditions of hospitals in these states. The court said the treatment for Covid-19 patients here is worse than that of given to animals.

2. Delhi govt slammed – The apex court rapped the Delhi government the most not only for poor conditions of hospitals in the capital, but also for reducing the number of testing.

“What is happening. Mumbai, Chennai are increasing tests. But your tests have gone down from 7,000 to 5,000. This is a horrendous situation.” the SC bench. Source: New Indian Express

3. Rapped over bed issue – Covid-19 patients are running from pillar to post to find a hospital bed while large number of beds are lying vacant in Delhi.

“Very sorry state of affairs in Delhi and inside its hospitals. Look at the treatment meted out to patients. The patients are crying and no one is looking after them. Relatives are not even informed as reported by media, after the death of patients…” – the SC bench told the states. Source: HT

4. Media reports – The court also highlighted media reports, highlighting incidents of Covid-19 patients’ dead bodies lying unattended in various hospitals in the capital and also in other states. Several reports of patients chained to beds, dead bodies thrown into pits, patients’ kin not informed and lack of water or food at quarantine facilities came to light over past few weeks. In one case a dead body was found in a garbage! Where are we living?

5. Must build infrastructure –  The top court reminded the states that they are duty-bound to arrange for sufficient infrastructure at hospitals and treatment for Covid-19 patients.

Isn’t it unfortunate for the world’s biggest democracy that the apex court has to remind public leaders to ensure proper healthcare to citizens?

6. Timely reply – The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the states to declare by June 17 what measures it has taken to ensure proper care to Covid-19 patients and handling of dead bodies. This sounds more like teachers prodding students to finish their assignments before the final term. Shame!

Why did the SC spoke on this issue?

Because recently former law minister and senior counsel Ashwini Kumar wrote to the SC, stating the sorry state of affairs regarding treatment to Covid-19 patients. Kumar also described how the states are handling the patients’ dead bodies in a pathetic manner. In this letter, Kumar also mentioned the fundamental right to die with dignity and proper cremation or burial.

The Kolkata controversy

Videos of highly decomposed bodies being dragging out of Kolkata Municipal Corporation for crematorium have gone  viral. Local residents raised an alarm about undesirable handling of bodies. Some of them claimed that the dead bodies were of Covid-19 patients. However, Kolkata police and the civic body denied that and claimed that they were lying unclaimed at a government hospital morgue are not that of Covid-19 patients.

Isolation, anxiety, pain, uncertainty, discrimination and finally utter disrespect in death. Corona is not just a virus, it is a unique evil entity that the world encountered with for the first time.  And in India, the picture is very grim, courtesy our policy makers.

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