Delhi NCR

Gurgaon’s private hospitals feel Covid strain

Officials say patients from Delhi also coming from treatment; chief medical officer asks hospitals to admit only serious patients

As private hospitals in Gurgaon see a surge in demand for beds for Covid patients, with several reporting full occupancy, officials from the health department have revealed that a survey of private hospitals will be conducted to take action against anyone found to be admitting milder Covid cases that can be treated in home isolation.

“Yesterday, we directed hospitals that they cannot admit every person. They have to admit as per the guidelines. We are going to conduct a survey to make sure this happens. Mild patients should not be admitted,” said Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Virender Yadav.

“If hospitals are found erring, show cause notices will be issued, and they will be directed not to promote such things. If they don’t comply, we will take strict action against them,” he said.

Several top private hospitals have of late been reporting 100% occupancy and an increase in demand.

Among these is Park Hospital, which officials say is currently “running housefull”. It has 52 beds for Covid patients.

“The pressure is so much that there is panic among the public. Whoever is getting Covid is running to the hospital. Any patient who can get home isolation, we recommend that for them so we can accommodate more serious patients… This wave is much more infectious. It is spreading like wildlife… It is definitely much more infectious but it is also virulent. We are getting patients who need to be put on ventilators. Many are needing oxygen,” said Dr P N Kakkar, CEO of Park Hospital, Gurgaon.

“Another trouble right now is with medications. Remdesivir has gone out of the market, and that is a dangerous situation… The government has to come into action for that. If anyone is hoarding the drug, put them behind bars. Something has to be done,” he said.

At Fortis Memorial Research Institute, officials said there has been a “significant rise” in demand for beds.

“There has been a sudden surge in cases… We are making arrangements to increase beds in wards and ICU beds for Covid patients in compliance with guidelines given by the district administration. We are also ramping up the general medical infrastructure and dedicated areas to be able to deal with the larger volume of patients,” said Dr Ritu Garg, zonal director, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.

“We are also in the process of procuring more equipment like ventilators and monitors to be able to cater to sicker patients. One of the constraints we may face in the coming days is manpower support. However, teams are geared up to tackle the situation,” she said.

Deputy Commissioner Yash Garg acknowledged that the Covid surge is “putting pressure on the health infrastructure”, but added that further reservation of beds for Covid patients will “depend on the circumstances”.

On Tuesday, Garg had directed hospitals to reserve at least 40% of beds in the general category and 70% in the ICU and ventilator category for Covid patients.

“In the second wave, the country is witnessing almost double the cases witnessed in the first wave daily. The problem is particularly in the ICU beds. So we have increased the allocation of ICU beds for Covid disease… Further reservation will depend on the circumstances. We also have to look after the interests of other serious patients who are suffering from ailments apart from Covid,” said Garg.

“The problem is coming with regard to the more serious patients, because Gurgaon is catering to the population of nearby districts also… A lot of patients from Delhi are coming to Gurgaon because Delhi is also facing a shortage of beds… As of now, we are managing but this is a dynamic situation. Things keep changing and directions will also change accordingly,” he said.

CMO Dr Yadav, meanwhile, offered reassurance that the district is equipped to deal with the situation.

“The demand at certain hospitals may be higher, but overall we have a lot of vacant beds in the district. There are more than 600 vacant beds that can accommodate patients… In terms of equipment too, we are well equipped. We have 50,000 to 60,000 PPE kits spare right now,” he said.

Data compiled on hospital beds indicates that 19% of oxygen beds reserved for Covid patients (419 of 2,196) are currently occupied, while of the 495 ICU beds reserved, 21% (104) are occupied. Of the ventilator beds reserved, 15% (35 of 233) are occupied.

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