A five-member committee constituted by the state government met on Monday to frame procedure and guidelines for analysing each COVID-19 death in Maharashtra. The state’s death rate stands at 6.8 per cent, among the worst-hit in India. In Mumbai, which accounts for 60 per cent of deaths in the state, a separate nine-member committee has been set up to frame a treatment protocol for critical patients in a bid to save more lives.
Dr Archana Patil, chairman of the state committee, said, “We will be analysing each death in the state except for those occurring in Mumbai. For Mumbai, a separate death audit team has been formed.” The five-member committee met in Pune to decide how a COVID-19 death would be certified, underlying factors leading to death and how critical management can improve.
A state official said analysis of each death will help improve future treatment of critical patients. The state recorded 160 deaths, the highest in India, till Monday night. A discussion on Maharashtra’s high death toll was also brought up during the video-conferencing between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all state chief ministers.
In Mumbai, where 110 deaths have been recorded, a task force of nine members under Dr Sanjay Oak, former KEM dean, was formed on Monday. The task force will establish a patient management protocol for seriously ill patients. It is supposed to advise on need for specialist doctors in COVID-19 hospitals and the kind of staff training needed to handle them. The task force also has to advise on drug protocol to treat such patients. Currently there is no treatment for coronavirus. Rito-navir and Lopinavir are the only two anti-virals approved and being used to manage critical patients.
The task force will also decide on need to transfer a patient to another hospital for intensive care unit support. Mumbai has six designated hospitals — Nanavati, Saifee, St George, Wockhardt, Seven Hills, and Jogeshwari Trauma hospital — to treat critical patients.
Dr Om Srivastava, infectious disease expert in Jaslok hospital who is part of Mumbai’s death audit committee, said, “It is also the immune response that is killing patients. We are not seeing a uniform pattern in deaths. There are people of same age group with same co-morbidity who are reacting differently to the virus,” he said.
After setting up the task force of renowned and expert doctors from Mumbai, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray interacted with the doctors on Monday through video-conferencing. “There are over 2,000 corona positive cases in Maharashtra and the death toll is 150. While the mortality rate is 6-7 per cent, almost 80 per cent of the patients had other ailments such as kidney, high blood pressure with others. The rising mortality rate is cause of concern and it should be reduced and brought down to zero,” said Thackeray.
Officials from the CMO said the task force will guide the state government about medical treatment. “It will also be available to doctors from across the state on a hotline to guide and assist them. The team will be tasked with starting dedicated COVID-19 hospitals…” said an official.
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