With the temperature touching record highs every day, hospitals are devising methods to help patients deal with the heat. Night shelters opened during the winter have been converted to round-the-clock summer relief centres in hospitals run by both the Centre and Delhi government. Water dispensers have been installed in key points, but patients are still finding it hard to battle the heat.
Hospital authorities said with patients with fever, viral illnesses, stomach ailments and heat-related symptoms— exhaustion and dehydration – continuously pouring in, they have forced to accommodate two-three patients on a single bed.
“We cannot turn patients away. In medicine and paediatric wards, we had to admit two or even three patients to one bed,” a senior doctor in Lok Nayak hospital’s medicine department said.
At many hospitals, including Safdarjung, LN and GTB hospitals, “fever wards” have been opened to accommodate patients.
At Safdarjung hospital, in the medicine ward, mattresses and additional beds have been laid out on the floor to accommodate patients.
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“To avoid doubling or tripling, we put in additional beds, but on the floor. At least, patients will get some breathing space,” a medicine specialist at Safdarjung hospital said.
At AIIMS, AIIMS Trauma Centre and Safdarjung hospital, night shelters have been converted into round-the-clock summer camps for patients awaiting treatment and their kin.
Avatar Singh who has been staying at the AIIMS night shelter along with his daughter who has chemotherapy sessions at the hospital, said, “We get water and a roof over our heads. Earlier, we were living on the pavement. Thankfully some arrangement has been made for us here.”
To help kin of patients, hospital authorities said they have started allowing more than one attendant per patient inside the wards.
“Several patients come to us from neighbouring and even far-off states. For admitted patients, we are now allowing 2-3 attendants, especially if the patient is accompanied by a child or younger siblings,” a senior official at AIIMS said.
He said the decision was taken after kin of many patients complained that they got sick from waiting outside in the heat.