BMC Says Civic Hospitals Are Not Refusing Treatment to Patients

BMC Says Civic Hospitals Are Not Refusing Treatment to Patients

In response to a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by private individuals and NGOs regarding the lack of civic infrastructure, the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) has said that civic hospitals are not refusing treatments to any patients. In case a hospital is deemed full, the patient will be taken to another facility, BMC’s affidavit said.

Among the other complaints filed in the PIL is lack of ambulances, overcharging by the hospitals, as well as the inadequate response from BMC’s phone helpline number - 1916. The BMC had set up this helpline to assign beds for those in urgent need, although the system has clearly broken down under the immense pressure it is facing. 

BMC provided an elaborate response to the PIL filed and gave clarifications on some of its existing infrastructures. The case will be heard by a Bombay High Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta. 

Read - 99% Of All The ICU Beds For COVID-19 Have Been Occupied In Mumbai

The civic body acknowledged that it only had 60 ambulances with oxygen for COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the BMC has reportedly sought the services of BEST mini-buses to transport patients. Some have argued that the wait for ambulances can sometimes take hours which can prove to be fatal for patients with severe symptoms.

The PIL also recommended establishing large mobile clinics across the city. In response, the BMC said that 13 clinics were already operational in the city while a total of 211 health posts have been set up for door-to-door services. The BMC also mentioned that it has 1,121 ICU beds, 524 ventilators, and 2,112 oxygen support beds in the city. 

As for its lagging 1916 helpline, the civic body clarified that a total of 48 people are currently handling the phone lines in three shifts. It is said that a total of 4,000 calls are handled each day. Further, the authorities mentioned that they have a live dashboard containing all the relevant information about hospitals to help with the allocation of the beds.

The authorities have encouraged private medical doctors to acquire PPE (personal protective equipment) from BMC’s approved vendors or through online shopping portals like Amazon. Doctors are at the highest risk of contracting the coronavirus given that they’re expected to come across COVID-19 patients at some point, especially in a virus hotspot like Mumbai.