KEM Hospital now has a 30-bed ICU facility dedicated to COVID-19 positive patients.
In order to address the issue of patients of the virus dying in transit, the hospital has started a new facility where critical and suspected patients will be kept in a ward equipped with staff and ventilators.
Depending on their test results, they will be moved to a 30-bed dedicated facility meant for critical patients, or another such facility meant for patients who test negative but display severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) symptoms, are critical and require isolation.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has divided facilities into COVID Care Centres (for asymptomatic cases), Dedicated COVID Health Centres for moderate COVID-19 cases and Dedicated COVID Hospitals (DCH) for severe cases.
KEM Hospital is under the DCH category. Initially, it could not cater to critical patients as it did not have ICU beds purely for them, and would transfer them to Seven Hills or Kasturba. The 30-bed critical care ward has resolved that.
The hospital management felt the need for separate critical care facilities for patients after the triage stage (the assignment of degrees of urgency) so that patients could be isolated in three different areas. Two wards next to the Casualty on the ground floor were vacated and revamped with the help of Tata Projects.
When a serious patient comes in with breathlessness, fever, cough, he is called a COVID-19 suspect. Since his test reports would take a minimum of 12 hours, in that period, the patient will be isolated in ward 20A, which has a capacity of 15 beds.
Based on the patient’s report, even if negative, the patient has to be segregated in ward 4A with a capacity of 30 beds since he or she has severe SARI. If positive, the patient will be kept in ward 4, which also has 30 beds. All three wards together have around 25 ventilators. They will have different teams that will not intermingle or interchange shifts. Teams in all three wards will get personal protective equipment.
Explaining the project, Dr. Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM Hospital said, “The idea was that we will be able to manage any patient who comes in on ventilator or oxygen support. If a patient is serious and turns out to be positive, we cannot transfer him out. He will be kept in ward No. 4.”
Of the 225 SARI patients the hospital has seen, about one-third have tested COVID-19-positive, while the rest have to be tested and kept under observation, he said. “That is why this isolation facility for those with SARI symptoms.”
Ward 4, equipped with advanced equipment, was commissioned on April 20 while ward 4A was commissioned earlier.
“It is a crucial addition to Mumbai. We will also ward off entry to these wards, and there will be no thoroughfare. Patients will be discharged from here only when they test negative twice,” said Dr. Deshmukh.