Not enough beds for COVID-19 patients

With COVID-19 cases rising by the day, beds in both private and government hospitals in Tiruchi have filled up rendering patients seeking admission in emergency situations helpless. Beds in Tiruchi Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital, too, are entirely occupied.

With over 500 patients testing positive in Tiruchi daily, hospitals in the city are overstretched and unable to handle the increasing number of cases. Though private hospitals have allocated 50% of their bed capacity for COVID-19 treatment, it is not enough under the prevailing circumstances.

All 684 beds at the Tiruchi MGMGH in the COVID ward, 60 in the ICU and 311 with oxygen supply are occupied. ‘When a patient is discharged, or when something untoward happens to them... that’s when we have vacancies, otherwise, we are full,’ a senior doctor said. The staff are overworked and unable to handle the stress. ‘At least 10 staff nurses have tested positive, and with only 280 of us, including 45 on COVID duty, we are unable to manage. While the nature of our job is already stressful, the fear of contracting the virus adds to the rigour,’ a senior staff nurse said.

Apollo Hospitals, SRM Medical College Hospitals, Sundaram Hospitals, GVN Hospitals and many other hospitals apparently do not have even a single ICU or oxygen-support bed. ‘We have travelled to at least four hospitals since morning with my father whose blood oxygen levels are dropping rapidly,’ a patient’s attender, said. Representatives of various hospitals said that they were short-staffed.

M.A. Ashraf, former national vice president, Indian Medical Association said that there are some patients who are getting admitted in a panic. ‘Unless the patient’s oxygen levels are below 94, they do not need admission. The patient can isolate themselves at home or at the various COVID Care Centres set up by the government,’ he said. He said that some patients occupy beds which could be required by a patient with worse conditions.

Collector S. Divyadharshini said that the district administration was looking forward to posting more nurses to address the situation. There are at least 150 applicants from private hospitals for the post of nurses in the mini-clinics. As for the Tiruchi GH, we are looking to augment strength of nurses and scale up the bed capacity,’ she said.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 10:02:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/beds/article34491991.ece

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