COVID-19 | SevenHills Hospital to add beds to meet surge in cases

Cases on the rise: A medical official checks residents of a containment zone in Prem Nagar slums in Worli for possible COVID-19 symptoms on Tuesday.

Cases on the rise: A medical official checks residents of a containment zone in Prem Nagar slums in Worli for possible COVID-19 symptoms on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: SalmanAnsari

Dedicated hospital aims to expand capacity to 1,300 by next month

With the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) estimating that COVID-19 cases in the city are likely to touch 75,000 by mid-May, SevenHills Hospital will be adding 226 isolation beds, each with oxygen support, this week.

About 4,000 patients are also likely to be critical by next month, and the hospital, which currently has 590 beds, aims to expand its capacity to 1,300. However, the hospital, which is dedicated to treating COVID-19 cases, is in need of more doctors and nurses to treat the influx of patients.

The BMC plans to keep asymptomatic patients or those with mild symptoms in home quarantine, provided that they have a separate room and toilet.

For those who cannot spare a room for themselves, especially residents of slums, the BMC is in the process of setting aside 40,000 beds in hotels, lodges or sports complexes as institutional quarantine centres.

The BMC will also set apart 4,000 isolation beds for critical patients in dedicated COVID-19 hospitals. Of these, 1,300 will be in SevenHills Hospital, each with oxygen support.

“Right now, we have 590 beds and we will add 226 by the end of this month. By May, our capacity will increase to 1,300 beds,” said IAS officer N. Ramaswami, Maharashtra Maritime Board chief, who is on special deputation at the BMC.

The hospital has 18 ventilators and plans to get 32 more units. With oxygenation being provided for critical patients, the BMC expects fewer patients to require ventilator support. In COVID-19 deaths so far, the condition of patients worsened due to lack of oxygen support and they had to be put on a ventilator.

Staff crunch

While the hospital has secured the services of four to five intensivists, it requires another 225 doctors and 750 nurses to meet the surge in patients. The hospital has sought the deputation of 100 doctors and 25 senior consultants, including pulmonologists, anaesthetists and physicians, from the Maharashtra Medical Council. However, the advertisements it had recently put out seeking applications from doctors received a poor response.

Mr. Ramaswami said, “Several doctors who have applied are from other States. Intern doctors will be brought on board too. We have roped in nurses from private set-ups and also nursing students. Nurses on the wait list will now be hired on an urgent basis.”

To meet the dearth in dialysis technicians, the BMC will train nurses to do the job. The BMC has also decided to pay nurses a monthly stipend of ₹20,000 following protests over their poor working conditions.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 8:14:15 AM |

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