Black Fungus: Patients Have Right to Life, Can't Be Given Preference Over Others, Says HC

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The Delhi High Court Thursday said every patient has a right to life and to live with dignity but it cannot give privilege to anyone over other patients for providing medicine to treat black fungus, primarily affecting those recovered or recovering from COVID-19. The court said it was sure that a patient's granddaughter, who was seeking direction to the government and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital to provide sufficient number of vials of Amphotericin B to him, was not seeking any preferential treatment over other patients.

Since the petitioner has now been included in the system set up in place for allocation of medicine for treatment of black fungus, we are hopeful that further allocation will be made while making it for other patients at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital as well, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said. Advocate Iqra Khalid, granddaughter of the 80-year-old patient, informed the court that as they missed one dose of the injection on May 23 when it was not available, the infection got spread to the orbit and sinus and two bones had to be removed and before this also he underwent two surgeries due to the infection.

She said the patient has a right to life and to live with dignity and the state cannot deny it just because it is unable to import the medicine which is already in shortage in the country. To this, the bench said, Surely this right is there, we are not denying it and he should be given this right. But our order will not give him any privilege. We are sure even you will not ask or expect for any preference over others.

The petition, filed through advocate Rohit Sharma, said the condition of the patient is life threatening and unless the prescribed dosage is administered to him, he is almost certain to lose his life. Khalid told the court that with the intervention of central and Delhi governments' counsel, they were able to procure a certain number of vials for the patients but they require more.

During the hearing, senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, said 300 more vials have been allocated to the state by the Centre and they will receive it today or tomorrow. He said presently there are 613 cases of Mucormycosis in Delhi and 80 of them are in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital which is not updating the details of patients to the government without which it would not be able to provide the complete data to the Centre and could not provide vials.

However, senior advocate Ashish Mohan, representing the hospital, said the system requiring hospitals to put up the data has come into effect since Wednesday and they are complying with it and providing the details. The court listed the matter for further consideration on June 1.

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