June 12, 2020 1:39:23 am
To save more lives and reduce dependence on intensive care units (ICUs) and ventilators, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided ready at least 9,000 oxygen-supported beds by June 30 for coronavirus-afflicted patients experiencing breathlessness.
At least 10 per cent of Covid-19 patients, civic officials said, require oxygen support during treatment. Currently, Mumbai has 5,496 oxygen-equipped beds across public and private hospitals and at its jumbo facilities, like MMRDA grounds and NSCI Dome. Of them 71 per cent are already occupied, officials said.
Maharashtra is expected to cross 1.5 lakh cases and the city to record at least 70,000 Covid-19 patients by June end.
“We have realised that if oxygen is provided early to people with low oxygen saturation levels, they do not need intensive care support. While ICU is needed in some critical cases, oxygen care stabilises majority of symptomatic patients,” said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner.
According to data provided by the civic body, there are 1,158 ICU beds with BMC, of them 99 per cent (1,142) are already occupied. Of the 503 ventilators available, 96 per cent or 481 are occupied, it states.
Dr Akash Khobragade, medical superintendent at St George’s hospital, a dedicated Covid-19 facility, said they have noticed a drop in coronavirus-related deaths after oxygen was provided to patients. The hospital had installed a 5,000-litre capacity oxygen tank in end-April to provide central oxygen supply through pipes to each bed. “Most patients come to us with (complaints of) breathlessness. We are able to stabilise them with oxygen support. Initially, oxygen was not available for every bed and a lot of people were dying,” he said.
In civic-run hospitals, currently there are 3,460 oxygen-supported beds, of them 311 are available, while in state government-run hospitals, like St George’s and Gokuldas Tejpal hospitals, there are 250 oxygen-equipped beds of which only 42 are available. In private hospitals, of 1,471 oxygen-supported beds for Covid-19 patients, 580 are unoccupied.
Civic officials said while they face a dearth in ICUs and ventilators, they have enough oxygen-supported beds to cater to patients suffering from breathlessness.
Dr Rahul Tambe, an internal medicine specialist at Nanavati hospital, said people with oxygen levels below 95 need oxygen therapy. “They may still require a ventilator, but most get stabilised. Covid-19 patients who feel breathless even for small activities need oxygen support, if we treat them at that point we can prevent further deterioration.”
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