Hospitals forced to turn away COVID-19 patients in Bihar


Major govt. hospitals ‘filled to capacity’; Minister, two IAS officers among 4,157 new cases in the State

With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing manifold, there are long queues of patients outside hospitals in Patna and bodies waiting for their turn outside cremation grounds. A Minister and two senior Indian Administrative Service officers were among the 4,157 new COVID-19 cases reported in the State over 24 hours.

Three big government hospitals in the city — Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS-Patna) — are reportedly filled to capacity. AIIMS is arranging for additional beds, said Sanjiv Kumar, nodal officer for COVID-19 at the hospital. At least 70 ambulances carrying COVID patients had to return from the hospital on Tuesday due to non-availability of beds, he said.

Beds in private hospitals like Ruban, Paras, Ford and Jagdish too are full. “New patients can be admitted only after the existing patients are discharged,” said Dr. Satyajeet Singh at Ruban hospital.

“We have had to turn away several patients as no beds are available. We feel sorry for them, but are helpless,” said the administrative manager of a city hospital.

50 deaths in a week

Government hospitals in Patna have a total of 359 beds, while private hospitals have 832 beds for COVID-19 patients. As many as 18,466 people in the State have tested positive in the last seven days and over 50 have died.

On Wednesday, Social Welfare Minister Madan Sahni and two senior IAS officers tested positive. On Tuesday, IAS officer Vijay Ranjan died at AIIMS, Patna. The government has deputed IAS officers at three hospitals in Patna for a week to monitor the rush of patients. Health Minister Mangal Pandey and State BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal have been visiting hospitals to monitor the situation.

At the city’s Bansh Ghat cremation ground, family members of those who died of complications related to COVID-19 have to wait in a queue for long hours. They allege that the employees are demanding huge amounts for early cremation. “The normal charge for electric cremation is ₹300. The government has made cremation of COVID-19 patients free, but they took ₹16,000 from me. If this is not extortion, what is?” said Brajraj, son of a COVID-19 victim.

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