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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Chandigarh: GMCH-32 hires medical engineer to keep PM-CARES ventilators running

The medical college, which earlier had almost 25 ventilators including those at the Anesthesia ward, medicine as well as pediatric, received an additional 55 from the government of India.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Chandigarh |
May 30, 2021 3:13:35 am
Chandigarh: GMCH-32 hires medical engineer to keep PM-CARES ventilators runningA division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice Bhalchandra U Debadwar was hearing a suo motu PIL based on news reports on Covid-19 management in districts across Marathwada and North Maharashtra regions. (file)

THE GOVERNMENT Medical College and Hospital-32 has hired a full-time medical engineer to cater to glitches and operative problems in ventilators provided through the PM Cares.

The medical college, which earlier had almost 25 ventilators including those at the Anesthesia ward, medicine as well as pediatric, received an additional 55 from the government of India. All ventilators came with a one-year
warranty by the manufacturer, Bharat Electricals Limited (BEL).

The company had further outsourced medical engineers or technicians to service the ventilators.

“The engineer stationed at the hospital by the company resigned, and we were left high and dry as the other engineer had to come all the way from Karnal. In case a ventilator stopped working, it would take the engineer from Karnal at least one day to arrive and we could not afford that amid a surge in cases,” said Dr Jaswinder, Director, GMCH-32.

As per doctors posted in various Covid ICUs at GMCH, the ventilators are largely faulty.

“It is a miracle that we have been able to keep these ventilators functional. Lives would have been saved if we had better ventilators,” said a Junior Resident working in the Covid ICU, on the condition of anonymity.

“Several compressors are so faulty that they give 100 per cent oxygen to patients instead of mixing air with pure oxygen. Pure oxygen is very harmful for lungs if given for more than two hours. But with the ventilators we have, people have been given 100 per cent oxygen for days on end,” said the resident, adding, “Unlike other ventilators, these do not have any battery back-ups. With make-shift ICUs, supply of electricity remains an issue. There have been so many times when ventilators have shut down out of the blue.”

Another junior resident explained problems in the oxygen sensors. “The oxygen sensors show wrong readings. We rely on pulse oximeters more than we rely on readings from the ventilator. If we have to give 100 per cent oxygen to a distressed patient, it shows 80 per cent. You are left with no other choice but to hope the patient is getting 100 per cent oxygen,” they said.

Highly understaffed with excessive patient flow, doctors at GMCH say the uncertainty of treatment has added to the toll their mental health.

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