- Saroj Singh
- PRESS24 NEWS Correspondent, Delhi
“If all the people suffering from a disease cannot be treated due to shortage of medicine, then it is the responsibility of the central government to formulate a policy, which will tell who to give the medicine, so that as many as possible. lives can be saved. The opinion of experts in the law and medical field should be taken while making such a policy.
Priority may be given in giving medicine to those who are more likely to survive.
Similarly, if two lives If you have to choose between, in which both have equal chances of living, then the young patients, who are the future of the country, should be treated like the elderly compared to, those who have lived their lives can be given priority.”
A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh gave this order during the hearing of a petition in the Delhi High Court regarding increasing cases of mucormycosis (black fungus) and shortage of drug amphotericin B for treatment.
What is the whole matter?
There is a lot of discussion about this order of the court.
Advocate Rakesh Malhotra had filed a petition in the High Court that cases of mucormycosis (black fungus) are increasing rapidly in Delhi and there is a shortage of amphotericin B, the drug used in the treatment.
On this, the court had sought a status report from both the central and state government in this regard. In response, the government said that the drug shortage is likely to continue for a few more days. In this context, the court said that the government should make a policy on who gets priority in medicine and on what basis.
Although this is just a suggestion of the court, the policy has to be made by the central government on this. The court has also asked the central government to study what other countries of the world have done in the face of drug shortage.
Rakesh Malhotra, the lawyer who filed the petition in the case, told the PRESS24 NEWS, “On the basis of reality, the decision is correct. But emotionally, this decision can give stress to many. If the young son in the same family And if you have to choose between the old father, then for once the family can choose the son. But when it comes to two families, the matter can be complicated. The case when the choice between the son of one family and the old father of the other family no family will accept medicine to be given to another’s son except his own father.”
What do legal experts say?
Senior jurist Upendra Bakshi said in a conversation with the PRESS24 NEWS, “Under Sections 31, 32 and 142 of the Constitution, the judiciary has the right to ask the central or state governments to make laws or policies on any issue. Right to make laws. The court does not have it. It can only tell the government about this.”
Regarding the court’s decision in the Black Fungus case, he says, “The English word MAY has been used in the judgment, which does not compel the central government to act according to the decision. Apart from this, the judgment only suggests That ‘life expectancy’ can be made a basis to deal with the shortage of medicines.
The court has made only one suggestion. Whether the law makers accept that basis or not, on what basis they accept and on what basis they reject – it is the work of experts. Whatever ground of priority the government chooses while making the law, it can be challenged in the court even further.
What does Medical Ethics/Medical Ethics say?
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) works on the rights, dignity and professional problems, conveniences of doctors in India. Former IMA President Dr Rajan Sharma spoke to PRESS24 NEWS on this order.
What does medical ethics say when there is a shortage of medicine and both the young and the old need it?
In response to this question, Dr. Rajan says, “It is not only the religion of the doctor that if there is no medicine, then the doctor should not treat the patient. Every student studying medicine is taught that till the end you have to listen to the patient’s breath.” Many times it happens that the clinical parameters of the patient are going down, the chances of survival are negligible, in that case there is no effect of giving medicine, so we call the patient’s family members and explain in detail. Taxes suggest to take them home. But even then don’t take any such decision.”
Jagdish Prasad, who previously held the post of Director General Health Service in India, says, “It is taught in medical ethics that the one who is more ill and there is less chance of survival, then priority should be given in the treatment to the one whose survival is less. Chances are high, but in medical ethics it is not taught that both have equal chances of survival, so save the young.
Suppose there is a 45 year old patient and is unmarried, he has no other responsibility other than himself. On the other hand, there is a 60-year-old patient, who is the sole breadwinner in a family of seven, who has to educate three daughters, take care of old parents and wife. So who would you choose based on the logic of the court?”
There came a time in Italy during the Corona transition, when some doctors decided on the basis of the patient’s age. This is confirmed by many media reports.
The example of Italy was also given during the hearing in the Delhi High Court, where the situation was very worrying during the first wave. At that time there was a shortage of necessary facilities in the hospital in proportion to the patients in Italy. At that time, doctors in Italy had given priority to the treatment of youth.
But there was a lot of debate on such decisions last year as well. In a blog published in the BMJ Journal, three arguments were made criticizing this decision.
First – one patient is 18 years old and the other is 19 years old. In such a situation, an 18-year-old cannot be saved merely on the ground that he is one year younger.
Second – there is a common belief that the elderly have lived their lives, but what is the basis for deciding this?
Third – By doing this a message also goes that we give less importance to the elderly.
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