The Delhi High Court issued notice to all the medical oxygen suppliers to appear before the court and asked them to produce details of oxygen supplied to various hospitals in Delhi. The high court also asked the Delhi government to manage the demand of oxygen for hospitals, as well as for the patients recovering at home.
The court was hearing a plea by a Covid positive patient who stated that he had been discharged by a hospital despite him in need of the hospital bed.
During the hearing, an Amicus Curiae was appointed by the court to raise the matter on behalf of people who are being treated at home and require oxygen. In this regard, the court was informed that hospitals are getting preference over home isolated patients for providing medical oxygen.
The Delhi government in response stated that it has already allocated 490 metric tonnes of oxygen supply available for the day, and could also dispense supply for individuals if it gets an immediate supply of 15-20 metric tonnes.
The supply chain between Oxygen Suppliers and Hospitals
Council for Batra Hospital in Delhi stated before the court that even though they have been allocated 4.9 metric tonnes of medical oxygen but they haven’t received it yet. Explaining their situation, the council said 50% oxygen has to be supplied by Goyal and Inox, however Goyal has refused to supply whereas INOX, after supplying 2.3 metric tonnes oxygen, has refused to supply more.
The bench also ordered GNCTD to create a portal on their website for NRIs desirous of sending medical equipment to India.
A Catch-22 situation
Hearing the arguments from suppliers, the court acknowledged that in order to accommodate the oxygen needs of individuals who are recovering at home, the quota of oxygen for hospitals will have to be reduced for sometime.
During the first half of the hearing, the court had sought the center’s response in regard to the difference in demand and supply of oxygen to states. The development in this regard came after the Delhi government has submitted before the court that the allocation of oxygen is in less quantity in comparison with other states to combat with the current surge in the number of cases.