Maharashtra govt claims facilities burdened; HC says state can’t escape responsibility


The Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court that the state-run hospitals in Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, which recently saw a spurt in patient deaths, faced a heavy inflow of extremely critical patients from private hospitals. However, the court said the state cannot escape its responsibility.
The court noted that the state government has flagged the reasons behind the deaths as heavy inflow of patients, referral from private and smaller hospitals and patients being brought in extremely critical condition. The bench also rued the decline in budgetary allocation for public healthcare in Maharashtra in the last three years.
According to officials, 31 patients, including many infants, died at the Dr Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in Nanded in 48 hours since September 30, while the death of 18 patients was recorded at the Government Medical College and Hospital at Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, earlier known as Aurangabad, between October 2 and 3.
The bench also noted the vacancies in government hospitals and said in such hospitals, patient care work is mostly done by senior and junior resident doctors and staff.
“See the vacancy for senior residents (at the Nanded government hospital),” the court said. “Out of 97 posts for senior residents, only 49 posts are filled. 50 per cent vacancy…is this justifiable? How do you (government) justify this.”
The court also pulled up the Maharashtra government for not appointing a full-fledged Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Maharashtra Medicines Procurement Authority set up in May this year.
The court directed for the CEO to be appointed within two weeks. The court in its order noted that the incident has brought to the fore certain issues with regard to the state healthcare system that needs to be addressed by the Maharashtra government. These include crucial problems faced by the hospitals such as vacancies, procurement of medicines and medical goods and equipment.