Spiralling COVID-19 cases put unprecedented load on Jaipur hospitals

Patients are being rushed from one hospital to another by their relatives in search of emergency facilities.

The spiralling cases of COVID-19 infection have put an unprecedented load on both the government and private hospitals in Jaipur and created a shortage of beds with oxygen support and ventilators. Patients are being rushed from one hospital to another by their relatives in search of emergency facilities.

The Rajasthan University of Health Sciences (RUHS) Hospital, which is the State government’s biggest COVID-19 treatment centre, is full with patients for whom the hospital administration was forced to lay beds in corridors from the ground to the eighth floors of the ward buildings.

The hospital’s 442 oxygen beds and 153 ICU beds with ventilators were fully occupied on Wednesday.

While the Medical & Health Department has asked the RUHS Hospital to shift its less serious patients to Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Government Hospital, where the beds were being reserved, the latter has expressed its inability to admit the patients in the absence of sufficient medical oxygen. The SMS Hospital offers multi-speciality treatment as the State government’s biggest health facility.

With the SMS Hospital refusing to take in the patients without being referred from the RUHS, several virus-infected persons have gone back disappointed. Yashpal Singh, who brought his mother Meera Devi, 45, from the nearby Chaksu town, told The Hindu that the para-medical staff gave her oxygen briefly in the emergency ward, but she could not survive.

Ms. Devi was referred to the SMS Hospital from Chaksu’s Community Health Centre. The hospital’s administration has blocked the way to emergency ward with trolleys and stretchers to stop the vehicles carrying the COVID-19 patients.

Demand for oxygen cylinders

SMS Hospital Superintendent Rajesh Sharma has informed the Medical & Health Department of the need for 3,000 oxygen cylinders before the patients were shifted there. As many as 650 patients of other diseases in the hospital are already on oxygen support, according to a letter of Dr. Sharma, who has raised the demand for 2,000 oxygen cylinders everyday for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

With the active cases in the State Capital crossing the 45,000 figure, the infrastructure in the hospitals has been stretched to its limits and the people are struggling to get essential services. Anish Kumar, former general secretary of City Congress, said his wife was kept on oxygen support at RUHS Hospital’s outpatient department for two days, but no medicines were given to her.

After Mr. Kumar raised a protest regarding the similar practice adopted for about 100 other patients, some of them were admitted to the hospital. The State government’s rule for sending a requisition for Remdesivir injection to the District Collector with the relevant documents is also creating difficulty for the patients who need it urgently.

Most of the private hospitals do not have any beds free for critically ill patients. Neeraj Purohit, Operations Manager at Apex Hospital in Malviya Nagar, told The Hindu that the hospital was barely managing to treat the COVID-19 patients with the oxygen quota allocated to it. The hospital’s 54 oxygen beds, nine ICU beds with ventilators and 19 without ventilators were all fully occupied, he said.

The family members of four patients who died created a ruckus at a private hospital on Kalwar Road last week with the allegation that there was no staff to change the oxygen cylinder during night. Another hospital in Jagatpura asked the relatives of patients admitted there to shift them elsewhere because of shortage of oxygen. The district administration brought the situation under control by arranging 43 cylinders as an emergency measure.

Zakir Hussain, Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at the SMS Hospital, said the panic among the people had exerted pressure on the resources available at the COVID-19 care centres in the city. “The panic-ridden patients are unable to use the resources judiciously. They take a longer time in recovery,” Dr. Hussain said.


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