Doctors at Gokuldas Tejpal (GT) hospital have now started pushing the state government to consider converting GT hospital back into a non-Covid facility, as routine non-Covid procedures have been on hold since March.
The state medical education department gave its unofficial nod to start non-Covid procedures at the hospital, but the process may still take a few more days.
The city is witnessing a gradual decline in active Covid-19 caseload with around 1,000 to 1,200 new cases daily and 100 to 150 hospital admissions.
Run by the state government, GT hospital has reserved all 220 beds for Covid patients since April, of which 20 are ICU beds. The hospital’s overall daily occupancy, however, is lower than 50 Covid patients.
Doctors said since GT hospital mostly treated moderately ill Covid patients, its occupancy was lower than other hospitals. The South Mumbai hospital is close to St George and Bombay hospital, which are also dedicated Covid facilities.
St George Hospital, also a state-run facility, has 220 beds, of which 100 are ICU beds and all are occupied with few beds vacant in the normal ward. The hospital has oxygen supply for each bed and admits critical patients. It has treated over 2,600 Covid patients to date. Doctors at GT hospital have requested the government to run either of the two hospitals as a Covid facility.
Before the pandemic, GT hospital was a specialised centre for orthopaedic procedures. In the last seven months, no orthopaedic surgery has been conducted in the hospital and only emergency or semi-emergency procedures are referred to its higher centre, JJ hospital. Several patients were discharged in March when lockdown began. Their surgeries, since they were non-emergency in nature, have been on hold.
Doctors said lack of anaesthetists had hampered surgeries at all departments. “Only recently, we have managed to start some elective procedures. But it is nothing like how it was before the pandemic,” a doctor said.
“There have been discussions on this issue since weeks. St George and GT are located close to each other. It makes no sense to use both as Covid hospitals,” a doctor said, while another doctor said they had communicated to JJ hospital that several non-Covid patients were now suffering.
Dr T P Lahane, director of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), said the state government had approved the conversion of GT hospital back into non-Covid facility, but the process would be slow. “We are slowly discharging patients. ICU patients will take longer to get discharged,” he said.
Lahane also said if Covid-19 cases started rising again after Diwali, they might have to reconvert some beds at GT hospital into isolation beds. “Just like we discharged and transferred patients in March, we will again repeat that if we need GT hospital for Covid purposes,” Lahane added.
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