HC: CT result enough to establish COVID spread, dispense compensation

The Madras High Court has sought the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to consider payment of Rs 50 lakh, under “Pradhan Mantri Garib Package Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19, to the wife of a dead doctor within four weeks without insisting on RT-PCR test result when CT chest screening had confirmed the virus.
HC: CT result enough to establish COVID spread, dispense compensation


Justice N Anand Venkatesh was passing orders on a plea moved by the wife of Dr Baskar, who died treating COVID-19 patients in Tiruchy. The government was yet to consider her plea for compensation citing the lack RT-PCR test result of the doctor even though he was subjected to CT Chest COVID Screening Test by a private hospital.
The court, on pointing out that the scientific studies have concluded that one requires RT-PCR to detect COVID -19 and a CT scan to detect if progressive pneumonia is present, said, “A CT scan is useful when the infection has spread to the lungs and detection by nose or oral swabs is not possible.”
“In the case of the petitioner’s husband, he started feeling uneasiness and was facing breathing problems and therefore, the private hospital had to necessarily subject him to the scan to immediately find the level of infection. The symptoms were so serious that the hospital felt that time cannot be wasted by taking RT-PCR test and these are decisions taken by professionals considering the gravity of the situation,” Justice Anand Venkatesh held.
He also noted that it is clear from the scan that the doctor was afflicted with COVID-19. “When such a clinching document is available, there is no requirement for insisting on the RT-PCR Test result,” the bench clarified.
It also stressed that in cases of this nature, the authorities must not stick to technicalities and the claim must be considered with more humaneness. The available documents which substantiate the fact that the husband of the petitioner was suffering from COVID-19 could be taken into cognizance.
Justice Anand Venkatesh, in his order, also held, “If not for the selfless services rendered by the doctors, a major population of this country would have been wiped out due to the deadly virus. Therefore, the least that should be done for a doctor, who has lost his life due to COVID-19, which had spread to him while he was on duty, is to acknowledge the selfless service and provide the necessary compensation to his family.”

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