Delhi HC issues notice on plea seeking direction to hospitals for update on condition of COVID-19 patients to their relatives

The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Centre and Delhi government on a plea seeking direction to the hospitals and doctors to update and brief the status of the condition of the patients to their relatives or attendants, particularly for patients of COVID-19.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh while issuing the notice said that many hospitals inform the family only after the patient expires.

Petitioner Manav Awaaj Trust through its Trustee Abhay Jain sought the protection of the right to fair and reasonable treatment of the patients admitted at various public and private hospitals, which are treating COVID-19 patients.

The plea stated that the immediate family members or attendants of the patient should be updated about the condition of their admitted patient on a daily basis.

Advocate Rishab Jain appearing for the petitioners submitted that there are no guidelines and/or directions towards ensuring that the attendant of a COVID-19 patient is updated about the condition or status of the patient regularly on daily basis. It is a grave violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The plea further stated, “In the present COVID-19 crisis a large number of relatives of the patient /attendants are seen waiting outside the hospitals. Although they are barred to meet the patient, they are waiting outside the hospitals with the hope to know the status of the patient and do prayer for recovery. A systematic policy to update the relatives/attendants of the patient will also help control the spread of COVID-19.”

“Due to the absence of any specific policies and/or guidelines at both government and private hospitals, a sense of fear even after admitting the patient engulfs the attendants of the patients. Panic, distrust, mistrust, anxiety, confusion, commotion develop amongst the attendants of the patients in the absence of a system or mechanism where the attendant is briefed or updated about treatment administered to the patient and the actual status or condition of the patient thereof regularly on daily basis by the hospital authorities. The only news the attendants are provided is either of death of the patient, or demand for the deposit of more fee,” the plea said.

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