Ex-gratia plea for COVID patient’s death due to negligence: HC seeks Delhi government, NDMA reply

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By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Delhi government to respond to a plea seeking compensation for the parents and wife of a COVID-19 patient who died allegedly due to want of medical attention.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh also asked Delhi government’s Rao Tula Ram Hospital to respond to the plea which claimed that the victim’s condition was critical and his oxygen level was very low, still the doctor of the hospital did not recommend for admission and due to the medical practitioner’s negligence, the man died while waiting for an ambulance.

The family sought an appropriate compensation for the loss of life of deceased due to complete mismanagement and criminal negligence of the authorities.

The bench impleaded NDMA as a party to the petition, after perusing an order of the Supreme Court which noted that the authority has fixed a minimum ex-gratia compensation to be payable to the kin of deceased on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court said let the counter affidavits be filed by the Delhi government, hospital and NDMA and listed the matter for further hearing in July.

Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi Government, informed the court about the apex court’s order on the issue of compensation and added that the state government is proposing to give ex gratia relief of Rs 50,000 each to families of COVID-19 deceased and that that this will be placed before the cabinet next week.

The court was hearing the petition filed by the parents and wife of Naveen, who died of COVID-19 on the intervening night of April 26-27 allegedly due to want of medical attention and doctor’s negligence.

The petitioners, represented through advocates Anuj Chauhan and Anand, said the oxygen level of the deceased was recorded in the Rao Tula Ram Hospital to be at 60 per cent, yet medical treatment was denied to him.

The family was asked to take away the patient from there and they kept trying and waiting for ambulance to take him to another hospital and even the ambulance driver refused to carry the victim after enquiring about his oxygen level.

The family even dialled 100 number for police help and also Delhi government cab sewa but all efforts went in vain and the patient succumbed to the virus.

The petitioners also urged the court to direct the authorities to present data showing as to how much oxygen is allocated to which Hospital and whether on April 26, oxygen was available with Rao Tula Ram memorial Hospital, Jaffarpur Kalan.

It also sought directions to the respondents to immediately make provision of ambulance for patients who are critical and further direct them to provide ambulance to patient who are not admitted to one hospital but referred to another.

The plea also sought to direct the authorities to allocate ambulance facilities, in collaboration with private ambulance services, at every Delhi government hospital for transportation of patients to other referred hospitals or facilities.



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