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Kerala High Court asks for guidelines for medical evacuation from Lakshadweep

K.C.Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on June 01, 2021

Director, Health Services, Lakshadweep, ordered to place guidelines before court after 10 days

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the committee constituted by Director, Health Services, Lakshadweep, for recommending medical evacuation of patients from various islands, to formulate guidelines on the method and manner of its functioning.

The Bench comprising Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath also ordered that the guidelines be placed before the court after 10 days.

The court passed the directives on a writ petition filed by P.M. Mohammed Saliah from Amini challenging the order of the Director of Health Services constituting a four-member committee for recommending special evacuation of patients to Kochi or Agati or Kavaratti from other islands.

The order made it clear that that the committee would make a recommendation on a case-to-case basis after evaluation of all relevant documents uploaded online by the medical officer in charge of the respective islands, along with a specialist at the Indira Gandhi Hospital, Kavaratti.

The order had put the petitioner and other inhabitants in great hardship since it would delay the processing of the evacuation request, endangering the life of the patient. Earlier, a patient in critical condition used to be airlifted as soon as the medical officer of the respective islands made a request to the Director, Health Services functioning in Kavaratti.

 

When the petition came up for hearing, S. Manu, Counsel for the Lakshadweep Administration, submitted that the Committee did not cause any delay in taking a decision on the request of the medical officer for medical evaluation. The committee members would talk to each other over the phone and take a decision in five minutes once a request was made by the medical officer of the island concerned. In fact, the service of 94 Doctors of Modern Medicine, including specialists, had been made available in the islands. It was above the national average in terms of the doctor-patient ratio. He also submitted that since the order had come into force, as many as 13 patients had been evacuated from various islands.

 

The court observed that the petitioner feared that a delay on the part of the committee in taking a decision on evacuation requests would endanger the life of patients. If the committee could draw up guidelines on the manner in which the committee was taking a decision on medical evacuation requests, the apprehension of the petitioner could be allayed.

 

Published on June 01, 2021

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