Due to the struggle in accessing hospital beds, critical patients needing immediate ventilator care or oxygen supply are ending up travelling long distances.
Hyderabad: Getting a hospital bed with oxygen or ventilator support has become a tough task for patients and their relatives, as the surge of new Covid infections and active cases continues in Hyderabad, Medchal-Malkajgiri and Rangareddy districts.
As on Friday, Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) Gachibowli, is the only tertiary government hospital left in the three districts that still has ventilator and oxygen beds for patients with moderate and severe Covid infections. However, given the surge in cases, the hospitals beds at TIMS are expected to fill up in the coming few days. At Gandhi Hospital, all the 619 ventilator beds are filled while there are at least another 300 vacant oxygen beds.
Due to the struggle in accessing hospital beds, critical patients needing immediate ventilator care or oxygen supply are ending up travelling long distances. As the pandemic is expected to progress further in the coming weeks, the public could find even more difficulties in accessing beds with oxygen and ventilator support, senior doctors here fear.
Apart from providing healthcare services to Covid patients from these three districts, tertiary government hospitals like Gandhi Hospital, TIMS and Chest Hospital also extend treatment facilities to critical patients from other parts of the State. For the past fortnight, there has been a steady inflow of patients from other districts, referred by doctors from local Community Health Centres (CHCs).
“We are witnessing a trend wherein doctors from CHCs in districts instead of referring patients to the local AH or DH that are equipped with oxygen or ventilator supporting beds, are referring critical patients to Gandhi and TIMS. Imagine a critical care patient being transported in a vehicle all the way to Gandhi or TIMS in an ambulance. A majority of them die while being transported. We have given strict orders to our CHC doctors to first refer critical patients to local DH or AH,” Health Minister Eatala Rajender had pointed out.
There are already signs of distress, as almost all the medium and super-speciality private hospitals with more than 100-beds in the three districts are operating to their full capacity, with very few beds with oxygen and ICU/ventilator support left. A few private hospitals still have a very limited number of vacant beds but those too are either filling up fast or there is a waiting list of patients.
“Instead of looking for admissions into healthcare facilities that have more than 100 beds, it would be better for patients and their relatives to look for smaller healthcare facilities like local private clinics and nursing homes for moderate patients who need oxygen support. But, for patients needing ICU or ventilator care, they must manage to find a bed with super-speciality health care facilities, which at present is difficult,” health officials in-charge of government Covid Care Centres said.
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