Indian Supreme Court: Coronavirus Patients Treated ‘Worse than Animals’

TOPSHOT - A cleaning staff member (top C) throws dustbins filled with medical waste from COVID-19 patients into a trash bin at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Amritsar on June 12, 2020. (Photo by NARINDER …
NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images

India’s Supreme Court lambasted the Delhi government on Friday for the “deplorable” conditions at local hospitals, where recent reports indicate coronavirus patients have been severely mistreated and victims’ bodies mismanaged, the Indian Express reported.

Delhi, India’s capital territory located in the country’s north, has been the subject of scrutiny by Indian media outlets in recent days, with local reports exposing “horrific” conditions endured by coronavirus patients in Delhi hospital wards. The Indian Supreme Court cited these media reports in its censure of the local government for its mishandling of the crisis on Friday.

According to the Times of India, the supreme court panel — comprised of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.K. Kaul, and M.R. Shah — on Friday condemned a media report claiming that living coronavirus patients were placed “alongside stacks of dead bodies in the hospitals.” This report was confirmed by Indian Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Friday, who told the panel that “there was a case in Delhi where dead bodies were found alongside patients who were undergoing [coronavirus] treatment.”

According to the TOI report, the dead bodies of coronavirus victims have been found not only in hospital wards but in hospital lobbies and waiting areas.

The panel of judges also decried reports that Delhi hospitals failed to inform many families that their loved one had died from coronavirus, which prevented some families from attending the victim’s last rites.

“Very sorry state of affairs in Delhi and inside its hospitals … Relatives are not even informed … after the death of patients … dead bodies are found in the garbage! … Worse than animals people are being treated,” Justice Shah said, according to the Indian Express. “… [T]his is a deplorable state of affairs,” Shah lamented.

Overall, the panel denounced the Delhi government’s failure to adequately care for people during the coronavirus pandemic as “horrendous, horrific, and pathetic.”

At press time on Friday, India had recorded 297,535 infections and 8,498 deaths from the Chinese coronavirus.

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