No Hospital Can Refuse Admission to a COVID-19 Patient: Calcutta HC

A PIL was filed before the Calcutta HC raising the issue of disposal of the dead body of a COVID19 victim, with due care, respect and dignity and the issue regarding admission of COVID19 patients to the hospitals.

So far as the first issue concerning the disposal of the dead body of the victims of COVID19, the Calcutta High Court directed that the judgment delivered in the case of Vineet Ruia vs The Principal Secretay Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of W.B,) shall govern the Writ Petition.

The Petitioner raised the issue concerning the admission of the patients stating that there is no way of knowing as to how many beds for COVID19 patients are available in the state and private hospitals at any given point of time. There is no database in this regard, which a person in need may access. Further, it was alleged that despite beds being available, hospitals are refusing to admit COVID19 patients.

The State Government’s counsel opposed the Petition on the ground that the allegations levelled in the Petition are based upon the news reports which cannot be admissible as evidence.

However, the Court appreciated the anxiety of the Petitioners and agreed that no hospital can refuse to admit a COVID19 patient if beds for such patients are available. The Court observed that the primary object of the hospital, either Government or private, should be to render healthcare to those who are in need of it, and this is the basic tenets of medical ethics.

The denial on the part of the hospital to do so without a valid reason, example nonavailability of beds, will amount to culpable breach of the fundamental duty of a medical institution.

The Court granted liberty to the Petitioners that in case any instance of non-admission of patients comes into the knowledge of Petitioner, the same can be brought to the notice of the West Bengal health regulatory commission constituted under the West Bengal clinical establishments (registration and regulation) Act 2010

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