City hospitals have been asked to postpone non-emergency procedures, including surgeries, to admit and treat dengue patients on priority. The Delhi government advisory, issued to both government and private hospitals on Tuesday, said no dengue patient should be turned away because of lack of beds.
Over 830 dengue cases have been reported so far this year, 778 of them in August alone. After 2010, when 1,014 patients were diagnosed with dengue in August and over 6,000 in the whole year, this year has seen the highest number of dengue patients in the last five years.
“We have told hospitals not to turn away dengue patients even if it means rescheduling all non-emergency procedures, including surgeries,” said Dr Charan Singh, in-charge of the vector-borne control programme in the Delhi government. “No health institute, government or private, should refuse dengue patients,” he added.
Hospitals have been told to stock their blood banks adequately. Private blood banks have been told to provide platelets at nominal rates. Government hospitals have already opened dengue and fever wards to deal with the rush of patients.
“During this time, our medicine wards only admit fever and dengue patients. Still, the beds are not enough. We are forced to admit two-three patients per bed, but even that is not sufficient. We have put up temporary beds on stretchers and mattresses to accommodate patients,” said a senior doctor at Safdarjung Hospital.
Doctors said most patients were put on saline drips and their platelet count was monitored. “Treatment is based on symptoms. But we have to admit patients who show signs of their platelet count dropping or those with very high fever and other complications. Patients can visit private hospitals daily and get their platelet count checked, but given the socio-economic profile of our patients, that is not possible,” said the doctor.
Doctors at private hospitals, however, said most patients do not need admission. “That’s because the symptoms are mild. Compared to previous years, symptoms of haemorrhagic fever and platelets dropping are rare this time,” said Dr Rakesh Gupta, senior consultant in internal medicine at Apollo Hospital.
Last year, 885 patients were diagnosed with dengue and only 11 had tested positive for the virus in August. This year, North Delhi has recorded the maximum cases at 352, South has reported 220 cases and East 73 cases.
Two patients have died this year, including three-year-old Shivam from Inderpuri and 37-year-old Mamta Rani from Narela.