The Odisha government has warned private hospitals of stern action if there is delay in providing critical services – dialysis, transfusion and chemotherapy – to patients for fear of contracting coronavirus infection. It also advised hospitals to not insist on a Covid-19 test for all the patients coming to their hospitals.
“This is not acceptable. All private hospitals and clinics are directed that every non-Covid hospital should keep a designated isolation unit to accommodate critically ill, suspected Covid patients, until their condition is stabilised for transfer to Covid hospitals after testing. The hospitals can’t insist that the patients get tested for Covid-19 before coming to their facilities,” read the order from the directorate of health services.
The State health department asked every non-Covid hospital to keep a designated isolation unit to accommodate critically ill suspected Covid-19 patients until their condition is stabilised for transfer to a Covid Hospital post-testing.
“In this crisis it is necessary to provide essential services. It is important not only to maintain people’s trust in the health system to deliver essential health services, but also to minimise an increase in morbidity and mortality from other health conditions,” the order added.
Earlier this week, the Orissa High Court had asked the State government to ensure that no person is denied treatment for any ailment by any hospital of the government or private if such facility is available with the hospital.
The HC order came following a PIL into the death of a 70-year-old Muslim man of Cuttack who died on April 10 allegedly due to denial of dialysis at a private nursing home in the city during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The man was asked to procure PPE set for the doctors during dialysis and even then he could not get dialysis.
Similarly, a man from Bhubaneswar died on April 27, after he was allegedly denied treatment by some private hospitals in the city. Later, the wife and daughter of the deceased spent a night on the road after their landlord reportedly did not allow them to enter.
Health department officials said the order would ensure that people in Odisha do not face problems in seeking critical health services during the nationwide lockdown in place till May 17.
Odisha has so far reported 156 Covid-19 cases, but officials apprehend a steep hike in the numbers once the over 6 lakh migrant workers start arriving in the state from Covid-19 hotspots like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Delhi.
Earlier, the Ministry of Health had asked States to ensure continuity of service delivery mostly to pregnant women, infant and children under five and treatments for chronic diseases, communicable diseases like TB, leprosy, vector-borne diseases, requiring treatment for dialysis, cancer, blood transfusion and other special needs during the lockdown.