On Wednesday afternoon, scores of people were in queue before the counters for Out Patient Department (OPD) billing at Paras Hospital in Gurgaon. Doctors and nurses had little breathing space, as patients kept pouring in. This has been the situation for the last two months, with an unusually large number of patients coming into the OPD each day with symptoms of various viral infections, usually chikungunya, and, in a fewer cases, dengue, according to doctors.
Official records, however, do not reflect this because it is not mandatory for hospitals to report every case of chikungunya to the health department. In the case of dengue, however, it is mandatory for them to do so. As a result, official records confirm 100 cases of dengue in Gurgaon this season and 45 of chikungunya. “The largest number of dengue cases (27) has been reported from Wazirabad. Chikungunya has been much more scattered, and it is difficult to pinpoint an area where it has been dominant,” said a health department official.
Paras Hospital gets a large number of patients from Wazirabad. All through the last two months, the four doctors available for consultation in the hospital’s OPD have been seeing close to 150 patients a day — “80 to 85 per cent” coming in with symptoms of chikungunya, and “around 10 per cent” with symptoms of dengue.
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To deal with the additional inflow of patients, the hospital hired additional staff and increased the number of nurses. The number of beds allotted to the internal medicine department were also increased. Doctors also worked longer hours.
“Usually, I leave work at around 7 pm or 8 pm, but for the last two months, I was staying in the hospital till around 11 pm, and then coming back by 8 am the next day,” said Dr Rajesh Kumar, Senior Consultant of Internal Medicine at Paras Hospital.
He added the situation has improved a bit with cases of chikungunya, which has been the main menace, subsiding.