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Punjab: Three Majha districts still dependent on Amritsar for Level-3 Covid care

"Survival rate at Level-3 beds is above 80 per cent. However, survival of patients shifted to ventilators is very low as is the case in the rest of the country," said Dr K D Singh, Medical Superintendent at GMC.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar |
Updated: April 13, 2021 6:30:56 am
Punjab: Three Majha districts still dependent on Amritisar for Level-3 Covid carePunjab on Monday recorded 3,477 fresh Covid-19 infections and 52 deaths, pushing the case tally to 2,76,223 and fatality toll to 7,559. (PTI Photo)

Over a year after the pandemic outbreak, three out of four districts of Majha have no Level-3 beds and ventilators for Covid-19 patients.

Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Tarn Taran are dependent on Government Medical College (GMC), Amritsar for Level-3 beds.

“We send Level-3 patients to the Amritsar. It is our strategy to operate Level-3 patients at one place because it needs proper isolation,” said Amardeep Singh Cheema, chairman of Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC).

Apart from these Majha districts, GMC has also been catering to four districts of Doaba. It has maximum 115 ventilators and 87 of these are available for the Covid-19 patients. GMC has total 200 beds for patients in Level 3 – the most critical patients needing ICU, ventilators, including pregnant and aged patients.

“GMC is government-run college and it is obvious that we refer serious Covid-19 patients to GMC. We refer to private hospital only when relatives insist,” said a health officer in Pathankot.

Amritsar also has good number of private hospitals offering Level 3 beds and ventilators.

Private and military hospitals in Amritsar have 236 Level-3 beds. The city has 25 private hospitals, which have 279 ventilators, out of these 176 are reserved for Covid-19.

Gurdaspur does not have any reserved ventilator in any private hospital.

“In private sector, Tarn Taran has Guru Nanak Super Speciality Hospital which has 20 Level-3 beds and 20 ventilators reserved for Covid-19. So far no ventilator is occupied by any Covid-19 patient at Guru Nanak Super speciality Hospital,” said Dr Sawarnjit Dhawan, Covid-19 officer in Tarn Taran.

“Survival rate at Level-3 beds is above 80 per cent. However, survival of patients shifted to ventilators is very low as is the case in the rest of the country,” said Dr K D Singh, Medical Superintendent at GMC.

When asked if government failed in upgrading the government hospitals at Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Pathankot in the wake of Covid-19 crisis, Cheema said, “Real problem is that people are still not reporting their symptoms. Awareness is the key. You should see how many people are on ventilators even today. We have concentrated all the efforts on ventilators in Amritsar. Because you need at least seven experts when patient is on ventilator. We have good arrangements for serious patients in Amritsar.”

He said, “I am not justifying or supporting anything. But first issue is to bring a person with symptoms to hospital. Early detection is most important. Health staff is over burdened with work and under stress. ASHA workers are working most despite facing anger of people for reporting symptoms. People think they would be hospitalised if symptoms are reported. Or they believe that Covid-19 is nothing. RMP doctors in villages are treating suspected Covid-19 patients on their own and such patients reach to government hospitals when situation is already bad.”

“It is cultural and behaviour problem of our people. They are not responding to the call of the hour. Even not turning up to get vaccine. Mortality rate in PGI is high because patient reaches there when in last stage. All the treatment at Level-3 in government hospitals is free. Private hospitals are charging in thousands for same treatment. Some people still prefer private hospitals,” said Cheema.

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