Ten days after a Command and Control Centre (CCC) was set up at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital to serve as an interface between Covid-19 patients and their families, the hospital continues to report incidents of goof-ups wherein the relatives of those admitted receive misinformation.
The CCC was set up on May 20 following the death of a Covid-19 patient, Ganpat Makwana (67), who was found at a bus stop in Dani Limda on May 15 after being discharged from the hospital. His family claimed that they had received no information about the discharge.
As per the state government’s claims, the CCC was set up along with a dashboard “with the aim to access real time information of Covid patients”. The dashboard is said to have a given patient’s name, details of their reports, status of their condition, which ward they are admitted to, date of admission, discharge date and which doctors are treating them.
Days after two patients had died last week, their family members continued to receive updates on their test reports and health status, stating the patients are stable.
Devram Bhisikar’s (71) family had cremated him on May 29, but kept receiving messages that he had tested negative for Covid-19 and was shifted to a non-Covid ward. Bhisikar had been moved from the civil hospital to the Gujarat Cancer Research Institute (GCRI) in the same campus, where he had died.
Before this, Kishore Shah (64) was rushed to the civil hospital trauma centre on May 13 after he reported oxygen saturation level at 55 percent and low blood pressure. Three days later on May 16, he died at GCRI. His son Sagar Shah received an automated message on May 30 that stated, “Kishorebhai Hiralal Shah (20/00160610) has been transferred to GCRI on 30-May-2020 at 6:38 p.m. (sic)”
Sagar had told this paper on May 21, “They made us wait till 6 pm and then said he will be admitted at GCRI. No one told us whether he was Covid-19 positive or not, no one even let us stay at GCRI. No doctor spoke to us regarding what was wrong.”
Sagar, who had cremated his father on May 16, further said, “GCRI Director Dr Shashank Pandya called me around 10:30 pm on May 30 and said the message was an error and that it perhaps came from the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital control room and not GCRI. This is complete negligence and cannot go on,”
GCRI director, Dr Shashank Pandya said, “The message was generated from Civil Hospital control room and not from here.”
When contacted, Resident Medical Officer at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, Dr Sanjay Kapadia said, “Our servers were down and there were two patients with the same name and hence, the confusion happened. We are rectifying the data entry error.”
The Indian Express has found that the CCC runs out of two locations – one in Ahmedabad on the civil hospital campus and another at an existing CCC in Gandhinagar, that was run by the state education department. The two centres reportedly had no communication with each other.
The CCC at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Asarwa runs on a staff of 12 in three shifts – four in each shift who are assisted by one doctor each – while nearly 35 employees of the education department in Sector 19 of Gandhinagar are running the second CCC.
This Gandhinagar centre has been functional since June 2019 for monitoring government teachers with GPS-enabled tablets and tracking them via geofencing. However, with schools closed amid the pandemic, it was put to use to track international passengers who landed in Gujarat in the initial months of 2020.
Admitting that there is a communication gap between the two CCCs, among other reasons for goof-ups in communicating with family members of the patients, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, Dr MM Prabhakar told The Indian Express, “We are planning to coordinate with the education department’s CCC in Gandhinagar… At times, the state government’s GSWAN (Gujarat State Wide Area Network, an intra-governmental communication infrastructure) crashes, which causes delay in sending SMS alerts to the family members of the patient.”
Sources in the education department reiterated that there is no communication link between the two centers. “Data is received of Corona patients at Civil Hospital, GCRI and SVP Hospital. As per the database, family members are informed through tele-calling and SMS. There is no direct communication between these hospitals,” revealed an education department official.
“Lack of information to relatives of Covid patients leads to anxiety and stress, which is natural. The CCC will enable access to real time information for the family members. With the changing health condition of the patient, utmost care is taken to update the status. This information is then shared with the patient’s family members through tele-calling and SMS”, the state government had claimed at the CCC’s launch on May 20. “Before the patient is discharged from the hospital, family members are informed about the date and time information, so that the relatives are there at the time of discharge.”
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