Delhi High Court asks hospitals to install oxygen plants

Civil defence officers walk past an oxygen plant at a newly constructed 500-bed COVID-19 care centre in Ramlila maidan, New Delhi on May 16, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the larger hospitals in the capital, with 100 or more beds, to install Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen plants, noting that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases had left a “bitter experience” for everyone due to the acute shortage of medical oxygen.

A Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singhs remarked that a lesson had to be learnt, particularly by hospitals, to be prepared for similar eventualities in future.

“Considering that the pandemic is once in a century and, hopefully, we will see the end of it sooner or later, we are of the view the large hospitals and nursing homes having more than 100 beds should install PSA plants having twice the capacity of normal requirements,” the High Court ordered.

“Smaller nursing homes and hospitals having at least 50 beds and not more than 100 beds should install PSA plants/refilling to meet their normal requirements,” the court said, while directing the Delhi government to take up the installation of PSA oxygen plants in hospitals with their owners and submit a status report by May 27.

The High Court was of the view that since the installation of PSA plants would need some space, it would be appropriate for the Municipal Corporation and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to bring about some relaxations in building by-laws.

It said the direction should be complied with by all the hospitals in the capital that come under the Delhi government, Central government, Municipal Corporation and others, and it should also be followed in the case of new hospitals.

Oxygen stock

During the day-long hearing, the High Court cautioned the authorities that they should not take the dip in COVID-19 cases lightly as there was a likelihood that the virus would again raise its ugly head and hit citizens badly.

The court reminded the government and authorities of their responsibility to create a buffer stock of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and that they were not caught unprepared.

“If you have not taken steps, we will come and chase you again. We are telling you, we mean business. Please don’t take it lightly, we are again warning you,” the HC told the Centre.

The High Court was informed by the Delhi government that it had created a buffer stock of 419 Metric Tonnes (MT) of medical oxygen at different locations here, and that arrangements were being made for creating additional stock in the next 10 days.

Beds availability

The High Court noted that despite its numerous directions, hospitals and nursing homes were not regularly updating the number of beds available and the occupancy position.

“We make it clear that if we find there is deliberate disregard to our orders and directions, we would not hesitate to take action,” the High Court said, cautioning all hospitals and nursing homes who were not complying with the directions.

The HC also asked the Delhi government to submit a status report providing the list of hospitals and nursing homes that were not regularly updating the status of beds availability.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 9:27:37 AM |

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