A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, while seeking responses from the main petitioner Association of Healthcare Providers (India) and others, refused to vacate the stay on the Delhi government’s decision instructing private hospitals in the national capital to reserve 80 per cent of ICU beds for Covid-19 patients.
The bench, while posting the matter for October 9, said that those hospitals have complied with the Government of NCT Delhi order and expanded their bed capacity may voluntarily continue to comply.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Delhi government, submitted that we are in the middle of one of the worst pandemic. “Covid-19 is a clever virus. With this virus, every day is like a game of Chess. The game is on and we are taking dynamic, bold and real-time decisions,” he said.
Jain submitted that there are three types of Covid patients – mild, moderate and serious. “It takes little time and for a moderate patient to become serious and for the same reason, we need more ICUs. When we say ICU beds are needed for Covid patients, this means that this patient may need heart care or lung care and hence, there is a need to increase the number of beds,” he added.
The Delhi government had, in a petition filed through additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose, moves against a single-judge bench order dated September 22 staying the order for private hospitals to reserve 80 per cent ICU capacity exclusively for Covid-19 patients.
It had submitted that the bench has not appreciated the categoric submissions made on behalf of the appellant regarding the surge in the number of Covid-19 patients, and the dynamic efforts being undertaken by the appellant to tackle the ever-changing nature situation regarding healthcare and medical facilities in the NCT of Delhi on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The single-judge bench had issued the interim stay on a petition filed by the Association of Healthcare Providers India through advocates Sanyam Khetarpal and Narita Yadav claiming that the Delhi government order was passed in an arbitrary, unfair and illegal manner without realizing the difficulties that may be faced by private nursing homes and hospitals.
It also stated that the order has been issued without any prior discussions with private hospitals to understand the current demand-supply situation of critical care beds. The plea also stated that the order is exposing non-Covid-19 patients to the risk of Covid-19.
“Reserving 80 per cent ICU beds will deny urgent care to seriously ill patients, requiring vital surgical interventions and critical care. These beds, which may constitute 15 per cent to 20 per cent of overall ICU bed capacity in some of the hospitals, are not usable for Covid-19 patients since very rarely does a Covid-19 patient of that age requires critical care,” the plea had said.