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Delhi High Court agrees to hear contempt of court plea against LNJP hospital and Delhi Government in a case on the handling of Coronavirus pandemic

The petitioner claimed that despite assuring the Court about following official protocols while treating infected Coronavirus patients and disposing of dead bodies in a dignified manner, the hospital management and government officials have failed to live up to their words

A contempt petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court by an advocate named Avadh Kaushik against the Medical Director of LNJP, Chief Secretary and the Principal Health Secretary of the Delhi Government for allegedly flouting High Court orders in a case regarding the handling of Coronavirus-infected dead bodies. Kaushik accused the hospital and the Government officials of filing false affidavits in the said case.

The petitioner claimed that despite assuring the Court about following official protocols while treating infected Coronavirus patients and disposing of dead bodies in a dignified manner, the hospital management and government officials have failed to live up to their words. He alleged that the condition of the LNJP hospital was worse than it was projected by the respondents in Court.

Arguments in Delhi High Court

Referring to the viral videos that clearly depict medical negligence and dereliction of duty at the KNJP hospital, the petitioner remarked, “These videos further reveal that numerous dead bodies, apart from being lying abandoned inside the wards, are also lying in the corridors of the said hospital without any attendant or staff to take care or to manage them to send to the mortuary and/or for cremation.”

Kaushik also highlighted the inhumane and appalling treatment meted out to the patients at Delhi’s first dedicated Coronavirus facility. He emphasised how patients with breathing problems did not have a single medical attendant, despite government and hospital authorities assuring the Court of adhering to protocols multiple times. Kaushik stressed that the ‘grace, dignity, and the majesty’ of the Court had been lowered due to non-compliance with its directives and thus sought for contempt proceedings to be initiated against the respondents.

The petitioner requested the formation of an expert committee to assess the current situation of patients at the LNJP and other such hospitals. He had also sought remedial actions by the hospital authorities to provide adequate treatment to patients and dispose of corpses lying unattended in hospital wards. In May, a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon took cognisance of a newspaper report which highlighted the plight of Coronavirus infected dead bodies that were cremated in crematoriums or buried in morgues.

Mismanagement at LNJP Hospital

In an exclusive report, India TV had revealed some shocking visuals of neglect and mismanagement from Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) hospital.The visuals showed a naked corpse lying unattended on the floor, with no hospital staff around to pick it up or move it. Speaking to India TV, LNJP hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr. Suresh Kumar claimed that the naked corpse might have fallen on the floor while doctors were trying to resuscitate a non-responsive patient with chest compressions. He informed that for CPR and chest compressions, the patient’s catheter drips and clothes were usually removed. However, the doctor could not offer any explanation as to why the naked corpse was left lying there on the floor.

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