Delhi

Only 58 ICU beds left, hospitals turning away COVID patients

When 24-year-old Asma placed her hand on her father’s forehead around 7 p.m. on Monday, he asked her if they got a bed at a hospital. Her father, who tested positive for COVID, is being kept temporarily at the emergency ward of the hospital.

“Yes, we are going,” Ms. Asma muttered but she is yet to find a bed for him, even after 10 hours of searching.

Only 58 ICU beds were vacant in the city as of 9.30 p.m. on Monday and many of them were not available when calls were made to the hospitals. COVID-19 positive and suspected patients were being turned away from even bigger hospitals on Monday as beds were full in many facilites, including LNJP Hospital - the largest Delhi government hospital.

Also, just 16.9% of the total 19,461 hospital beds were vacant at the same time; 79 COVID-19 hospitals did not have any vacant bed on Monday night, government data showed. Many smaller hospitals were also full and they were getting dozens of calls daily for admission.

Asma with brother Asad, 21, and sister Ela, 26, had left their house in Indirapuram at 10 a.m. on Monday to look for a bed when their father developed breathlessness.

“First, we went to Shanti Gopal Hospital where they gave him oxygen and asked us to go to a bigger hospital. Then we went to Yashoda Hospital and Max Hospital, but both denied us admission, saying that there were no beds,” Ms. Asad said.

At 2 p.m., they reached Fortis Hospital in Okhla where doctors said COVID beds were full but took him into the emergency temporarily. “The hospital kept asking us to take the patient to a COVID hospital with a ventilator, but we couldn’t find any despite searching for hours,” she said.

At the emergency ward, their father breathed with the help of a BiPAP machine. Till 9 p.m., they had not found any ICU bed.

At Holy Family Hospital, Mini, was trying to get her father admitted but was turned away.

“We came here in the morning and they took him into the emergency, but they did not give us a bed. I have tried every hospital I could but there is no bed anywhere. I’m going back home for time being,” she said. Her father breathed with the help of an oxygen cylinder inside the ambulance.

“There are no beds available. We don’t even have space to walk inside the ICU,” a doctor said.

At Safdarjung Hospital also, all 219 hospital beds were occupied, as per a government website.

Outside the COVID-19 block, family members of a pregnant woman, who is COVID-19 positive, complained that she was not getting water and food properly on many days. All beds were also occupied at Metro Hospital, a smaller hospital with 30 COVID-19 beds.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 12:55:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/only-58-icu-beds-left-hospitals-turning-away-covid-patients/article34363433.ece

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