Ensure Hepatitis-B vaccine in hospitals, Uttar Pradesh told (Lead)

April 16th, 2011 - 12:21 am ICT by IANS  

Allahabad, April 15 (IANS) Taking serious note of a public suit filed by a fellow judge, Allahabad High Court Chief Justice F.I. Rebello Friday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure immediate availability of the Hepatitis-B vaccine in the main hospitals across the state.

Conceding Justice Sudhir Agarwal’s request to treat his complaint in this regard as a public interest litigation (PIL), the chief justice also issued notice to the state government and sought its reply within ten days. He further directed the government to ensure that every patient requiring the Hepatitis-B vaccine was duly immunised.

The complaint was made by Justice Sudhir Agarwal on account of the agony and disgust that he went through due to non-availability of the life-saving vaccine in any government or private hospital in Allahabad.

In his complaint to the chief justice, the judge said that he procured the vaccine for his daughter from Delhi. After getting his daughter operated for multiple fractures at the state-run Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital here on April 9, the judge was informed the girl needed to be immunised against Hepatitis-B.

Doctors said she was exposed to the grave danger as two patients operated upon in the same operation theatre a day earlier, were affected by the Hepatitis-B virus.

Subsequently, two more surgeries were carried out in the same operation theatre.

The surgeon confessed to the judge that the hospital had not cared to warn any of those four patients about the Hepatitis-B infection, nor about the dangers of exposure to the deadly virus or the need for them to get immunised against it.

Justice Agarwal got further alarmed when he discovered that the operation theatre was neither sanitised nor was the usual immunisation protocol observed before his daughter was operated upon there.

“As per the guidelines of the WHO (World Health Organisation), patients suffering from Hepatitis-B or from HIV needed to be either operated upon in complete isolation or it needs to be ensured that the operation theatre is completely sanitised before any other patient is operated upon,” the judge pointed out in his complaint to the chief justice.

The judge sought to draw the chief justice’s attention to the fact that while he managed to procure the expensive vaccine through his own resources from New Delhi, that may not be feasible for every other patient.

“I, therefore, request you to treat this letter as a PIL and to order necessary steps because other patients were not even aware of the dangers they were exposed to,” Justice Agarwal was stated to have written in his letter.

“Any expeditious step in the matter shall provide a ray of hope to four poor helpless patients and many others who may be suffering for lack of resources or ignorance,” he added.

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