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PCMC bars shifting of Covid-19 patients from private ICUs to civic hospitals

This move has drawn opposition from private hospitals as well as political parties like the Shiv Sena.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
April 19, 2021 12:31:41 pm
Covid-19 DelhiPCMC ICUs are full and only those patients who are in ICUs of civic hospitals should be shifted to another civic hospital where ICU bed is available," Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil has directed PCMC medical officials.

As rising Covid-19 cases continue to put a strain on hospitals, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has barred private hospitals from shifting coronavirus patients from their intensive care units (ICUs) to the ICUs of civic hospitals.

This move has drawn opposition from private hospitals as well as political parties like the Shiv Sena.

“PCMC hospitals’ ICUs are under strain. Patients from private hospital ICUs are being regularly shifted to PCMC-run hospital ICUs. During the time, if the patient dies, PCMC has to give clarification about it. PCMC ICUs are full and only those patients who are in ICUs of civic hospitals should be shifted to another civic hospital where ICU bed is available,” Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil has directed PCMC medical officials.

Reacting to the announcement, YCM hospital and medical college Dr Rajendra Wable said, “When patients are shifted from private hospitals to PCMC hospital ICUs, they die in several instances. And in such a situation, the PCMC has to give clarification regarding the patient’s death.”

Shifting a critical patient who is on a ventilator is fraught with tremendous risk. It needs big efforts to ensure smooth shifting of the patient…But many times it does not happen. As a result, the patient dies on the way,” Wable added.

Dr Wable also cited reasons for this shift.  “If the patient’s family cannot afford the huge bills of private ICUs, they want to shift the patient to PCMC hospitals where COVID patients are treated free of cost. Secondly, private hospitals first admit the patient though they do not have ICU or ventilator beds. When the patient’s condition becomes critical, they want to shift him to civic hospitals like YCMH where two ICUs are available,” he said. Thirdly, Dr Wable said, since Remedisivir, the life-saving drug, is available at civic hospitals, the private hospitals are increasingly shifting patients to the civic hospitals.

Dr Wable said last year, Sassoon hospital death rate was high because critical patients were shifted from private hospitals there at the last minute. “Similarly, YCM hospital also gets patients from private hospitals who are in the last stage…Therefore, people believe that many deaths are occurring at YCM hospital, they do not know the actual fact.

I have seen more than 10 deaths in the past few days while shifting patients from one hospital to another,”said Dr Amol Holkunde, who is in charge of the Auto Cluster covid facility.

On the other side, opposing blanket ban on shifting of patients from private ICUs to civic hospital ICUs, Lokmanya hospital spokesperson Dr Shrikrishna Joshi said, “If a hospital does not shift the critical patient, then faces trouble if the patient dies. If it is shifting the patient, there is still the danger of the patient losing life on the way. Both ways it is problematic.”

Dr Joshi said, “Shifting of patients should be allowed if the private hospital can do so in cardiac ambulance available and takes all necessary precautions and responsibility to shift the patient. If there is a blanket ban, families of patients will have no option left…” Like Lokmany hospital, other city hospitals are also opposed to the move.

Strongly condemning PCMC’s move, Yogesh Babar, president of Pimpri-Chinchwad unit of Shiv Sena, said, “PCMC is not a private body to issue such a directive. PCMC is a government body and the government will have to shoulder full responsibility for its citizens. We cannot leave ur citizens to die just because PCMC will not make ICU facility available for them…If PCMC continues with this policy, we will be forced to approach the Chief Minister….Therefore, we request the Municipal Commissioner to review his decision.”

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