Attending corona patients a must for private hospitals: SC

Kathmandu, March 31

The Supreme Court today directed private hospitals to attend novel coronavirus patients unconditionally.

Issuing an interim order responding to a writ filed by advocates, the SC said all the private hospital should make necessary arrangements to be ready to treat COVID-19 patients.

It said the hospitals could not shrug off their responsibility on any pretext.

“Private hospitals shall make necessary arrangements of beds, ICUs and ventilators, and ensure safety of medical staff involved in the treatment of COVD-19 patients,” states the SC order.

The petitioner had also demanded that the SC direct the government to suspend the Parliament session and bring a law through an ordinance to make it mandatory for private hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients, claiming that private hospitals were returning patients suspected to have contracted COVID-19.

However, the SC did not issue any such order and set April 5 for hearing. The SC has called both the parties, petitioners and defendants, for a debate on the issue.

Petitioners include advocates Pushparaj Poudel, Saroj Krishna Ghimire, Khagendra Prasad Adhikari, Purnima Rimal, Tikaram Bhattarai and Raju Khadka, while the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers has been named the defendant.

The SC verdict comes amid reports from across the country about hospitals, both private and public, not attending patients showing symptoms matching coronavirus infection.

In a press meet this afternoon, officials of the Ministry of Health and Population said because of hospitals’ reluctance to attend patients showing COVID-19 symptoms, chances were high that individuals suffering from other diseases might lose their lives because of negligence.

They urged all the hospitals and health workers not to worry because COVID-19 had yet to spread at the community- or local-level, and that only those coming from abroad were found infected so far.