Covid-19 | Control room denies availability of beds in Pune

PMC had told the HC that ICU, ventilator beds were available

After the counsel for Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) assured the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that ICU and ventilator beds are available, the control room has denied it.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a bunch of petitions on shortage of beds, oxygen, Remdesivir, crematoriums and others.

The counsel for PMC told the court that Pune has done maximum testing in Maharashtra and the recovery rate of patients in Pune was 90%. He said, “We are independent about the generation of oxygen and by June end, all municipal hospitals will be self-reliant when it comes to oxygen. There are currently five ICU beds and ventilator beds vacant.”

One of the advocates interrupted him and said there were no beds available in Pune, especially ICU and ventilator beds. The court directed that he call the helpline and put the phone on loudspeaker. The control room then said no beds were available. To this, the counsel said officers are not doctors and details of the patient have to be given to retrieve information.

The court was then informed that the dashboard by PMC is not really providing real time updates on beds. The court directs the corporation and the Association of Doctors to file an affidavit on the same.

Chief Justice Datta, upon perusal of the note submitted by Maharashtra counsel Akshay Shinde, said there was a shortage of Remdesivir. There is a demand for 70,000 vials daily, but merely 45,000 vials are received, he remarked, and asked how the State arrived at this figure for Remdesivir. He also said there was a lack of coordination somewhere. The demand for Remdesivir was 50,000 earlier but is now 70,000. How can that be if the number of cases is reducing, he asked.

Another advocate in the the matter said there were a group of people, politicians and celebrities distributing Remdesivir to patients arbitrarily. He added that hospitals in Mumbai have put a notice on the gate saying they do not have Remdesivir, and the patients have to procure it from outside.

The court asked Mr. Shinde to file an affidavit on the allocation of Remdesivir. On crematoriums, the State filed an affidavit stating there were 2,700 existing crematoriums and burial grounds, 87 gas crematoriums and 34 electric crematoriums. Along with this, there are 346 proposed crematoriums. Senior advocate Anil Sakhare representing Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said in Mumbai there have been 80,000 cremations a year and there are 72 crematoriums.

The hearing will continue on May 13.

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