NHRC inspects COVID-19-dedicated LNJP Hospital

New Delhi: A team of the National Humans Rights Commission, led by its member Jyotika Kalra, visited the LNJP Hospital on Thursday for an on-spot inspection of the facility in the wake of allegations of mismanagement in handling the COVID-19 situation in the city.

The hospital is a dedicated COVID-19 facility under the Delhi government.

The Commission on Wednesday had sent notices to the Health Ministry and the Delhi government over the coronavirus pandemic situation in the national capital and asked them to submit a report in 10 days on healthcare facilities and related issues.

The idea of the NHRC’s visit is to help hospital administration to “plug loopholes in their functioning and not just find faults”, Kalra was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the NHRC.

A detailed report will be prepared and submitted to the Commission shortly, the statement added.

However, the Commission would “continue to keep a check on the facilities” of the LNJP Hospital and may also visit some hospitals in the national capital under the Union Health Ministry, she said.

The five-member NHRC team also comprised an assistant registrar (law), one DSP, one inspector and a doctor on the panel of the Commission.

The team interacted with the hospital administration, doctors, staff and some attendants of the patients there. They also visited the emergency department and the ward having beds for COVID-19 patients, a senior official of the NHRC said.

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“The team was informed that no serious patient was denied admission and as such only those patients are being admitted whose condition is serious, and others having minor symptoms are being advised home-quarantine,” the statement said.

The hospital administration claimed that they were being sent referred patients by various doctors in the city, without any proper protocol, the statement said.

On the delay in shifting of bodies, the hospital administration informed that only due to problems in lifts on some occasions, there might have been some delay but mostly the bodies are shifted immediately, it said.

The patients are being allowed to carry mobile phones and there is no such restriction. Home food is also being allowed. Additionally, the hospital canteen has been providing breakfast, lunch and dinner as per schedule, hospitals authorities were quoted as saying in the statement.

A senior official at the LNJP Hospital said, the team arrived at the facility around 3:30 PM and left at about 6:30 PM.

LNJP’s Medical Director Dr Suresh Kumar and and a senior doctor from the emergency department accompanied the team during the inspection, the official said.

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Sources said, the visit was scheduled to happen but a date had not been mentioned earlier.

“What a private channel aired on television is not the right picture of the situation at the hospital, but deliberately only certain parts have been shown to show us in bad light,” a source said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, when asked by reporters about the video aired by the channel, said, “Such videos are motivated, and break the morale of the healthcare workers”.

“What is being shown, a dead body in a ward, is not the right way. It only sensationalises the situation. Why the sacrifices made by our doctors over the last three months are not shown,” he said.

The team found that several beds were lying vacant. However, the hospital administration said this is as part of requirement in coming days, even additional equipment like dialysis machines and ventilators have been kept ready for any exigencies, the NHRC statement said.

About 23 per cent doctors and para-medical staff have been kept ready aside for deployment on a need basis, it said.

The NHRC member observed that at the hospital’s entry gate, proper and visible notice boards giving directions to the patients and their attendants were required, it added.

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