The Madhya Pradesh High Court, on Friday, June 11, questioned the state government over 204 ventilators that were kept as 'back-up' in storage while thousands of patients gasped for breath amid the second wave of coronavirus.
Taking sou motu cognisance of the matter, Chief Justice Mohd. Rafiq and Justice Sujoy Gupta issued a notice to the government, seeking a response to the issue they termed of grave concern.
Several times earlier, the state, which so far recorded lakhs of cases, reported a shortage of life-saving equipment when the second wave peaked in Madhya Pradesh. The state received the maximum number of machines under the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund).
Senior lawyer Naman Nagrath, the Court's amicus curiae, informed that of the total unused ventilators, 42 are in Bhopal, 20 kept in Indore, which was not put to use as soon as the second wave hit the state, NDTV reported.
Bhopal had 77 ventilators in total, of which 42 were received under the PM-CARES fund. The rest 35 were distributed in district hospitals. All of them were left unused, unplugged or the hospital had no qualified personnel to operate the device. Many of them were not even unpacked, the Court was told.
"It is a matter of concern that hundreds of ventilators were lying unused in storerooms, while thousands of patients died," the media quoted the Court's statement.
Earlier in May, the media reported that the ventilators received by Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh from the Centre were either defective or unused.
Following, a patient succumbed to the infection in Bhopal's biggest government-run medical facility, the Hamidia Hospital. When the media questioned, the hospital denied claims of the inefficacy of the machines. However, it was found later that the officials had written to the hospital administration about the quality of ventilators.
Even the state government held the similar stance on the quality of the machines. Similar issues, at the time, were reported from different parts of the state.