Covid mortality rate continues to increase in Ludhiana. While 131patients have died in the state in the past eight days, i.e. July 26- August 2, 53 of them have died in Ludhiana alone. This has raised a serious question mark on tertiary care facilities in Ludhiana as it is the only district in Punjab which has a tie-up with maximum private hospitals — seven. These hospitals include two reputed private medical colleges, DMCH and CMCH.
On Saturday, only one bed was available for level 3 patients out of a total of 76 beds in Ludhiana district. This has caused a serious concern for health authorities as Additional Chief Secretary (health) Anurag Aggarwal, who came to Ludhiana on Saturday, told private colleges’ representatives to increase the number of beds in level 3 category. He said, “Cases in Punjab are increasing. In Ludhiana as well, these cases are increasing . However, what matters most in a pandemic is that death rate should be the minimum. Hence, tertiary care is most important. We have asked all the eight hospitals to allocate 50% of the total ICU (with or without ventilators) only for Covid patients. This will increase the total number of beds for tertiary care patients.”
Out of 76 beds, 35 are in DMCH while eight are in CMCH. There are indications that DMCH will be increasing the beds to 50 and CMCH to 16. The remaining hospitals — Fortis, SPS Hospital, Mohandai Oswal Cancer Hospital, Guru Tegh Bahadur, and Deep Hospital — have also been told to increase the number of beds.
The Ludhiana civil surgeon, Dr Rajesh Bagga, said, “We are hopeful that the number of beds for level 3 will be doubled in Ludhiana in two-three days.”
On July 30, The Indian Express had highlighted the shortage of beds in critical care in Ludhiana district. A Ludhiana woman who was denied a bed by a private hospital on Saturday was sent to Patiala where the woman is on ventilator.
On Sunday, 12 patients were on ventilator in Ludhiana. Since none of Punjab’s civil hospitals is equipped to handle level 3 patients and people are not keen to go to government medical colleges and hospitals, the entire caseload is coming to Ludhiana. On Sunday, out of 450 beds of government facility in Ludhiana, only 152 were occupied while in private hospitals, 391 beds were occupied against the allocation of 313 beds. Few beds were temporarily added as patients went to private hospitals instead of civil hospital.
The director health services, Dr Avneet Kaur, said, “We have asked private hospitals to increase beds for Covid patients. We are creating more beds in government facility as well.”
‘Told civil surgeon to refer patients to govt hospitals’
Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu told The Indian Express, “We have asked private hospitals to deal with only emergency cases or heart patients and defer the remaining surgeries which can wait for some time. As of now, first priority should be given to Covid cases. We have asked Ludhiana civil surgeon to refer patients to government medical colleges as well where beds are vacant.”
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