KERALA

Other treatments will be affected, say managements

Private hospitals in the district seem to grapple with the prospect of having to treat COVID-19 patients, with a few saying that other treatments they offer could prevent them from contributing more resources to the COVID fight.

Praveen Kumar, Managing Director, Kinder Hospital, said that an eight-bed obstetric facility was being used for quarantined pregnant women. The hospital was in the process of setting aside 17 beds for COVID patients, he said.

Rajagiri Hospital has set aside 25 beds for COVID treatment, where a few patients were already being treated. A spokesperson said that the protocol was still one of shifting patients to the Medical College Hospital if they tested positive during or before their treatment for other ailments, but patients could choose to receive treatment at the hospital itself.

Both Lakshmi Hospital and Specialists’ Hospital said that their facilities would struggle to accommodate COVID patients. Lakshmi Hospital has set aside 15 beds in a regular ward, but considering the number of other high-risk patients and patients visiting the hospital for its gynaecology department, the hospital is hoping they won’t have to take in COVID patients unless absolutely necessary, said Ambili Arun, the hospital’s infection control and nursing manager.

At Lisie Hospital, 20 beds have been set aside in an isolation ward for COVID patients.

A separate area has been set aside at Aster Medcity for COVID patients, but the hospital was not willing to specify the number of beds. The Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences had set up a separate 32-bed hospital at Njarakkal.

VPS Lakeshore had set aside one floor of the hospital with about five rooms.

Dr. Vinod Franklin, who is in charge of infection control at the Ernakulam Medical Centre (EMC), said that the hospital had set aside 11 private rooms so far to accommodate suspected COVID-19 patients. Two ICU beds have also been set aside.

On whether private hospitals would be able to spare staff for duty at government COVID hospitals, Mr. Praveen Kumar said that situation would be tricky since their specialists would be required for other treatments at their own hospitals. Dr. Franklin also pointed out that it could be difficult for the EMC to spare staff members considering that the existing staff was already working in two layers to avoid infection.

“There are about 200 private hospitals in the State that have expressed willingness to treat COVID patients, but the understanding is that these hospitals will step up only once government facilities are saturated,” said Dr. Joseph Benaven, general secretary, Kerala Private Hospitals’ Association.

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