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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Long queues outside DRDO-GU hospital for tokens, as AMC run hospitals say no critical beds available

Critical care beds were not available at four AMC hospitals, including VS General hospital in Ellisbridge where only one oxygen bed was available and no ICU bed with or without ventilator was available.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: April 30, 2021 9:43:28 am
Relatives mourn the death of a person died due to Corona virus disease outside the dead body department of Civil hospital in Asarwa, Ahmedabad.

A day after the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) rolled back an order restricting admission to only patients arriving by 108 ambulances, city hospitals on Thursday displayed boards showing status of bed even as chaos was witnessed outside 900-bed Dhanvantari Covid Care Hospital, a joint venture of the DRDO and Gujarat University, that started a token system for admissions.

As AMC-run hospitals showed no critical care beds available in the morning, people queued up outside the Dhanvantari Covid Hospital, set up jointly by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Gujarat University (GU), hours before the token window opened at 8 am. The facility, where 380 out of 900 beds are operational, had 125 beds available on Thursday.

Critical care beds were not available at four AMC hospitals, including VS General hospital in Ellisbridge where only one oxygen bed was available and no ICU bed with or without ventilator was available.

Similar situation was reported at the LG Municipal general Hospital in Maninagar where out of 132 oxygen beds none was available and all 108 ICU beds were occupied. Only 40 ward beds out of 160 total were available Thursday morning.

Situation at the Shardaben Chimanlal Lalbhia Municipal General Hospital in Saraspur and the 1000-bed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Hospital in Ellisbridge was no different. At Shardaben Hospital, 96 general beds were available and no oxygen or ICU beds. At SVP Hospital, bed availability at 11 am showed no ICU beds and only 15 oxygen beds along with 271 beds in the ward.

As per the evening update by AMC, only eight oxygen and ICU beds were available at LG Hospital, out of all four hospitals.

An AMC release in the evening stated that 382 critical care beds were available in the city across public and private hospitals. As many as 243 beds were available in 170 private hospitals, 72 beds in 187 nursing homes and 59 in the four hospitals at the Medicity campus.

At the Dhanvantari hospital, there was a scuffle between police and people waiting in queue after a few of them tried to remove the barricades and enter the hospital. A few critical patients who reached in private vehicles were allegedly denied entry, citing the token system.

However, a government release said that the token system helped get rid of “long queues of private vehicles outside the hospitals… putting an end to patients’ problems…” The release added that “senior government officials are regularly monitoring and evaluating the arrangement”.

“In place of vehicles carrying patients that have to wait for three to four hours for admission, now tokens are issued to them during one hour in the morning. The patient has to reach on the scheduled time informed,” the statement added.

The Dhanvantari hospital with all oxygen beds is not yet fully operational. Principal secretary education Anju Sharma, who is supervising the operations at the hospital, told The Indian Express, “We have enough staff. Another 100 beds will be operational tomorrow taking the total to nearly 500 beds. The only limiting factor is shortage of medical oxygen.”

Denying that the patients faced issues on Thursday, she said, “Admission on the basis of the token system went on smoothly. Attendants with patients did not have to wait for hours outside the hospital.” She added that the facility has 52 ICU patients at present.

Plea in HC

Advocate Amit Panchal of the Gujarat High Court moved an application as party-in-person before the HC on Thursday, seeking its directions to quash and set aside the practice of patient admission through a token system. Panchal cited the Gujarat HC’s April 27 order and submitted that the token system was in violation of the court’s order, which held that “…if the attendants and patients reach the hospital in privately arranged vehicles, there can be no justification for not treating patients and not admitting them if beds are available”.

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