India

Delhi Struggling to Manage COVID Load, Private Hospitals Gripped by Chaos

The second COVID wave in India is wreaking havoc as the authorities struggle to cope with surging cases, while medical institutions complain of a lack of advice and leadership.

A day after the Delhi government declared 14 private hospitals just for COVID patients, chaos and confusion is reigning in medical institutions as staff are confused about how to treat non-virus patients. 

Another 82 private hospitals have been asked to set aside at least 60 percent of their Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds for COVID patients amid the fresh wave of the pandemic choking the Indian capital.

What’s more, 101 private hospitals have been directed to reserve at least 60 percent of their beds for COVID-related treatment, the directorate general of Health Services has stated.

The government directions, however, have not gone down well with several hospital authorities, who are protesting against the move. 

Dr. Reena Kumar, director of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, one of Delhi’s biggest private hospitals, told Sputnik, “Asking the entire hospital to become COVID-centric is not possible as it requires infrastructure change and, above all, manpower which is in scarcity.”

“The staff is exhausted. So many are turning COVID positive, nobody wants to do the duty,” she added.

“The big question for us is what will happen to the non-COVID patients? So many of them are serious yet they are salvageable at least. So many need chemotherapy for cancer treatment, dialysis for kidney ailments and it is not possible to abandon them in their hour of need,” Dr. Kumar said. 

Pointing to infrastructural and logistical problems, the doctor continued, “If we are asked to scale up the beds in Intensive Care Units then we need more ventilators, massive infrastructural changes are required. It is not possible, not viable not wise. Manpower is most important, we need people to monitor the patients also.”

“We cannot ask the non-COVID patients to leave the hospital immediately. We need to strike a balance. That is the only way we can function,” Dr. Vivek Nangia, a senior doctor at Max Saket Hospital in New Delhi, told reporters. 

“What is going to happen to the patients who are already admitted in our hospital? The hospitals are full of non-COVID patients as well,” Dr. Suranjit Chatterjee from Indraprastha Apollo Hospital said. 

Dr. Kumar told Sputnik, “After the first wave of COVID, hospitals learnt their lessons on how to deal with the pandemic. But somewhere complacency set in, and strict protocols being adhered to earlier were relaxed. Earlier only one attendant was allowed with serious patients and none with the indoor patients. The attendants are bringing COVID inside the wards, they sit and wait in waiting rooms and spread the infection. These smaller details need to be paid attention to rather than sweeping changes in the rules and directions being given by the government.” 

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