New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the city government to explain the steps taken on the issue of updating family members or attendants of COVID-19 patients about their condition and treatment being provided in hospitals. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh allowed the request of Delhi government counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi that some more time be granted to file reply to the petition filed in this regard by an NGO.
The bench said the government's affidavit shall include all the steps taken by them in this regard and the future road map and listed the matter for hearing on August 31. The high court had on May 27 issued notice and sought responses of the Ministry of Health and Delhi government on the plea by NGO Manav Awaaj Trust which has contended that presently families only receive news about the death of a patient or demand for deposit of hospital charges.
It has said that providing the daily updates about patients' condition would "develop confidence and trust in the system of governance". The NGO has sought a direction to the Delhi government "to frame a policy and/or guideline for communication of status report" every 24 hours to family or attendants of patients about their condition, treatment provided and details of attending doctors.
It said the status reports can be communicated via WhatsApp, SMS, email or any other mode or an option can be given to family members or attendants to collect the report from the hospital daily at a specified time. The NGO said there are no guidelines and/or directions to ensure that the attendant of a COVID-19 patient is updated about the condition or status of the patient regularly on a daily basis.
"The community at large is losing confidence, trust and faith in the working of the government and private hospitals in the absence of a system or machinery where the attendant is briefed or updated about treatment administered to the patient and actual status or condition of the patient thereof regularly on daily basis by hospital authorities. "Only news reaching them is either of death of the patient or demand for the deposit of more fee. That the family members/attendants are time and again neglected by the hospitals, but for the clearance of bills," it said.