ON WEDNESDAY morning when 80-year-old Joginder Singh, a native of Yamunanagar in Haryana, was rushed to Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), one of the few things PGI doctors asked the family members was to immediately get an ambu bag (external breathing support) for him.
Family members of Joginder, who had suffered an internal head injury after he fell from his bed, assert that he has to be provided manual resuscitation through ambu bag due to limited number of ventilators at the north India’s premier medical hub.
“We came here for the first time. We thought a ventilator would be available here, but there are not many,” said his son Surinder Singh. “The doctor asked us to get an ambu from the chemists. Many attendants here are using ambu bag for their patients.”
Joginder is not the only patient on manual resuscitation at PGI’s trauma centre. A visit by Chandigarh Newsline to the PGI’s Advance Trauma Centre and Emergency found that many of the critically ill patients are on manual ventilator support.
While three members of Joginder’s family came to PGI, there are a few other patients who have only one family member. Such patients need attendants all the time for continuous breathing support with the help of ambu bag.
“This is a big institute. Seeing the situation, I don’t think the number of ventilators is sufficient. My brother who met with an accident today is unconscious. I feel my brother too needs a proper ventilator, but the doctors said there are not many ventilators here,” said Arman, brother of an accident victim. “Since no family member has reached here so far, I can’t even go to get medical reports of my brother, because there is no one here to provide him ambu ventilation.”
As per the Public Relations Office of the PGI, of the total 131 beds at Advance Trauma Centre, there are 12 ventilators while in the emergency which is 110-bedded, there are 46 ventilators. At PGI which is a 1,948-bedded hospital, there are a total of 146 ventilators installed at the hospital. Doctors say a ventilator needs proper staff to manage the system.
A senior PGI doctor who is associated with the trauma centre agrees that PGI does not have sufficient number of ventilators to cater to the growing rush at the institute. Of the total 17 critical care unit beds at Advance Trauma Centre, only 12 are working. “We need at least more than 10 CCU beds at the centre for the patients,” he said.
“With the increase in critically ill patients seeking admission to PGIMER, there is a need to increase the facilities to take care of such patients. If we have to increase the ICU beds and ventilator facilities, we have to get more staff, including nurses and technicians,” said Dr G D Puri, head, department of anaesthesia and intensive care.
PGIMER Director Jagat Ram told Chandigarh Newsline that the administration would get more ventilators as per requirement.
PGI is not the only hospital in city, which has a limited number of ventilators. Last month, a 21-year old patient, Anuj Kumar, who was critically injured after he got stuck in the lift of a city hotel, was taken to a private hospital in Mohali owing to the shortage of ventilators at Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32.
However, Dr Ravi Gupta, Medical Superintendent, GMCH, said: “We have 58 emergency beds at the institute, but, they don’t need ventilators. The hospital at present has 40 ICU beds and 40 ventilators as well.” GMCH is a 800-bedded hospital.
On the limited number of ventilators at GMCH, he said that “the infrastructure of the hospital will not get choked if the peripheral institutions in the surrounding states create adequate facilities so that patients don’t have to come to Chandigarh”.