Plea in SC seeks direction to ensure proper medical treatment for non-COVID patients

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New Delhi, May 20 (PTI) A plea was Thursday filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre, states and Union Territories to ensure that adequate medical treatment and facilities are being provided to non-COVID patients in hospitals amid the pandemic, including during the lockdown period.

The plea has claimed that non-COVID patients having ailments including heart diseases, HIV and hepatitis are “struggling” to get proper medical admission and treatment in government as well as private hospitals during the lockdown period.

The petition, filed by advocate G S Mani, has sought direction to the authorities to ensure that fundamental rights to life, liberty, health and equality of non-COVID patients guaranteed under the Constitution be enforced and protected effectively.

“Non-COVID-19 patients are facing lot of difficulties,” the plea said, adding, “These patients need regular treatment and medical check up”.

It said due to the ongoing wave of COVID-19 infection in the country, several states like Delhi, Kerala and others have announced complete or partial lockdown in the months of April and May this year.

Referring to the number of deaths due to coronavirus infection, the plea claimed that in several states more people have died due to lack of proper arrangement of medical facilities and treatments in the hospitals.

Mani said he had sent a representation to the Health Ministry by way of e-mail on May 15 and through speed post on May 17 seeking adequate medical treatment facility for all non-COVID patients in private and government hospitals in the states.

The plea has also sought a direction to the authorities to consider his May 15 representation.

The petition has referred to media reports and claimed that non-COVID patients are not getting proper medical treatment and facilities in hospitals during the lockdown period.

“In some private hospitals, online consultation is available whereas in government hospitals, there is no such facility available. There should be more government hospitals exclusively for non-COVID-19 patients,” it said.

It said the apex court has said in catena of cases that right to life and right to public health is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

“The right to health includes affordable treatment. Therefore, it is the duty cast upon the states to make provisions and effective arrangement for affordable treatment. The right to public health is an integral element of Article 21 of the Constitution,” it said. PTI ABA ABA RKS RKS RKS