Counsel for the administration submits that evacuation of critical patients would be made in half an hour

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday declined to interfere with the Lakshadweep Health Director’s order constituting a four-member committee for recommending special evacuation of patients to Kochi or Agati or Kavaratti from other peripheral islands through air ambulance.

The Bench, led by Chief Justice S. Manikumar, disposed of a writ petition filed by P.M. Mohammed Saliah from Amini challenging the order, after recording the submission of the Counsel for the Health Director that in case of dire emergency, the competent authority could order evacuation of patients in half an hour without waiting for the committee’s recommendation.

The petitioner pointed out 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, Karavatti. The order had put the petitioner and other inhabitants in great hardship since it would delay the processing of evacuation requests, endangering the life of the patient.

Earlier, patients 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 was taken up for hearing, S. Manu, Counsel for the Health Director submitted that as per the protocol for evacuation, an evacuation request from the island concerned was forwarded as text message to the nodal officer, special sortie evacuation, who in turn would forward the same to the Director of the Health Services, medical superintendent and the specialist doctors concerned at the Indira Gandhi Hospital, Kavaratti who are members of the evacuation committee.

Necessary documents

The necessary documents were sent via WhatsApp or e-mail by the doctor treating the patient concerned. The whole exercise might take half an hour at the maximum. In case of dire emergency or failure of the network in the island concerned, the competent authority could order evacuation via text message without waiting for the committee’s recommendations.

The evacuation of less emergency cases, which were to be done on the same day, however, could be delayed till the cut-off time for the respective islands so that more emergency cases may not miss out on evacuation on the same day. The Health Service Department would ensure that there would be no delay in evacuation due to the functioning of the committee, he submitted.

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