The city hospitals are recording an increase in the patients visiting the pulmonary (relating to the lungs) departments. But doctors say studies are needed to see how severely pollution is impacting the lives of the city residents and the increase in patient number cannot be directly attributed to the increasing pollution. At the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), north India’s premier medical hub, the respiratory OPD has seen a huge increase since 2010. From 18,627 patients registered in 2010, the number of patients registered last year was 40,068.
“The number of patients are increasing at the department. But how many are linked to the air pollution, we have to find it,” says Dr D Behera, head, department of pulmonary medicine, PGI.
Dr Behera says the Chandigarh Administration has to take some initiatives to contain the increasing pollution. “The number of vehicles is increasing which is becoming a source of pollution in the city. It may be difficult for the administration to put some kind of restrictions on the sale of new vehicles. But they check the emission coming from vehicles in the city,” he says, adding that the pollution is impacting the health of people.
Dr A K Janmeja, head of pulmonary medicine, GMCH, Sector 32, believes that compared to last year, there is a little increase in the number of patients coming with respiratory ailments to the hospital this year. “But we need to find out if the number is increasing because of weather change or rising pollution. A study is very much needed for the city,” he says.
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At the GMSH-16, doctors say the patient number has not increased. “The weather has now changed. Every year, there is a rise in the patients who come to us with asthmatic problems, chest congestion or other pulmonary ailments when the weather starts changing,” says a doctor at the department of medicine, GMSH-16. “We are not witnessing any emergency-like situation.”