Gujarat High Court Issues Interim Order to Conduct Surprise Visit to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital

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Gujarat High Court has issued an interim reprimanding Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. The reason is that the hospital has failed in combatting the situation. This is despite the fact that Ahmedabad has a high mortality rate.

Brief Facts

Ahmedabad Civil Hospital certifies as Asia’s biggest hospital. But, it has received sharp criticism in recent times. Moreover, the hospital was termed as “as good as a dungeon”.

The Court passed several orders since May 13, 2020, to ensure efficient treatment. It also made critical observations with regards to the pathetic condition of the hospital.

The Court took notice of an anonymous letter written by a resident medical officer. The letter highlighted the issues faced by the doctors and nursing staff.

The Advocate General, Mr Kamal Trivedi filed the present petition on behalf of the State Government. The Court said that the bad shape of the hospital made the affected reluctant to test for the infection. Consequently, this made it difficult for the government to detect the carriers. Thus, he urged the court to make a suitable observation. This will try to improve the conditions of the hospital.

Court’s Observation

The Court responded to the Government’s claims on the improvement of the conditions. The Court said that the COVID-19 patients received appropriate care in due course. This appeared prima facie from the materials.

Yet, the Court added that it was too early to retract the observations made earlier. It stated,

There are many problems which the State Government needs to look into and try to resolve the same at the earliest in the larger interest of the people of Gujarat, more particularly, the city of Ahmedabad.

The Court, therefore, asked the State Government to place careful considerations on the contents of the anonymous letter. The letter pointed out the following:

  1. Inadequacy of PPE kits and N95 masks
  2. Lack of precautionary measures for health workers
  3. Lack of isolation facilities
  4. Violation of social distancing.

The bench further directed an independent committee to conduct an appropriate inquiry. The miserable condition of health workers will take a toll on their performance. It will aggravate the present situation.

The Court has expressed concerns over increasing death rates at the Civil Hospital. It was the lack of ventilators which left most of the patients unattended. Most of the patients at the Civil Hospital died within four days of the treatment. Thus, the State Government must plan to mitigate the situation.

The Court has also commented on the social division in society. It asserted, 

“Ordinarily, the citizens hailing from poor strata of society are being treated at the Civil Hospital. This does not mean that human life is not protected. Human life is extremely precious and it should not be allowed to lose at a place like the Civil Hospital at Ahmedabad.”

Court’s Order

Justice J B Padriwala and Justice Ilesh J Vora passed an interim order. The order was to consider improvement. The government must place on record the findings. These findings would be of the inquiry into issues highlighted by the letter.

It has also placed a note of caution towards the Superintendent of the Civil Hospital and other concerned authorities. It said that they must be vigilant in the near future. Further, the judges will also make surprise visits to review the situation. This would put an end to the controversial functioning of the Hospital at Ahmedabad.


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