As the first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was hearing a suo motu plea on the State’s preparedness, the Chief Justice noted that some intervenors have pointed out that elderly patients suffering from COPD or other problems were not getting the regular supply of oxygen and that it was difficult to find supply for them.
“While the State takes care of COVID patients and the emergency it faces on that account, the needs and concerns of the others must also be kept in mind and addressed without compromising such cases in the wake of pandemic,” he said.
The non-COVID patients, too, should be able to receive oxygen in the usual course, the bench stressed, and added: “Local authorities should take appropriate measures to ensure continuous supply for such purpose.”
Pointing out that there appeared to be an element of rationing of oxygen, as the State has not received the allocated supply, the bench said, “One of the intervenors pointed out that oxygen was not being supplied to many private hospitals. The State may look into the allocation of oxygen to the private and government hospitals in the State. In any event, the allocated supply is 519 MT against the State’s projection of 800 MT of oxygen required daily.”
During the hearing, the intervenors made submissions about the acute shortage of oxygen supply to private hospitals resulting in them being forced to send such patients to government hospitals, adding up to their burden.