KOLKATA: Observing that no hospital can refuse to admit a COVID-19 patient if beds for such patients are available, the Calcutta High Court has given liberty to the petitioners in a PIL to draw the attention of the West Bengal Health Regulatory Commission if they have concrete instance of such refusal.
In a judgement on a PIL alleging refusal of admission of COVID-19 patients (whether detected or suspected) by hospitals in some cases, a division bench comprising Chief Justice T B N Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee said the primary object of a hospital, be it government or private, should be to render healthcare to those who are in need of it.
"The refusal on the part of a hospital to do so without valid reason, e.g., non-availability of beds, will amount to a culpable breach of the fundamental duty of a medical institution," the bench said in the judgement passed on Wednesday.
It said that in case the petitioners have a concrete instance of any hospital denying admission to a COVID-19 patient despite beds being available, the petitioners will be at liberty to draw the same to the notice of The West Bengal Health Regulatory Commission.
The petitioners claimed that there is no way of knowing as to how many beds for COVID-19 patients are available in the state and private hospitals at any given point of time.
The counsel for the state told the court that the state government has created a database which can be accessed by anybody and which gives all requisite information regarding availability of beds in the hospitals, admission of COVID-19 patients in the hospitals, discharge of such patients from the hospitals, etc.
The counsel for the state denied that there has been any case where any government hospital has denied admission to a COVID-19 patient in spite of availability of beds.