AN EERIE silence pervades the city’s largest private Covid facility, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital. An ambulance stands outside the main gate, waiting to admit a suspected case while health workers assist the driver of another ambulance to take out a stretcher and send the patient to the fever ward, at the building dedicated to Covid-19 patients.
At the non-Covid building on the same premises, each visitor is thoroughly checked while some wearing masks patiently await their turn at the out-patient department (OPD) seeking treatment for other ailments.
At 2,275, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital is the largest private medical facility in the city to have treated maximum patients in the last three months from April 15 to July 15. Apart from Sassoon General Hospital, a government facility, two other private hospitals, engaged in Covid-19 treatment since April, are Bharati and Symbiosis hospitals. At Bharati hospital, 1,100 Covid-19 patients have received treatment, while Symbiosis has treated around 1,500 patients.
As Pune inches towards the 50,000-mark in total Covid-19 cases, despite the strain, medical teams are holding forth. Dr Dhananjay Kelkar, medical director at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, told The Indian Express on Friday that high-flow oxygen therapy was going to save lives.
Dr Kelkar added that the 800-bed hospital had set aside 400 beds with 40 in the intensive care unit (ICU) to treat Covid-19 patients. Critical care experts strongly feel that non-invasive oxygen therapy is effective. “Oxygen saturation levels on presentation are the difference between life and death,” Dr Kelkar said.
Dr Sanjay Lalwani, medical director at Bharati hospital, said the surge had just begun and would peak around September. He added that the hospital had 250 beds, and wards had been categorised as Covid wards with co-morbidities, Covid ward with oxygen beds, Covid ICU ward and so on. “At least 400 patients have been treated at the ICU and 160 ventilated. While some 80 patients succumbed to the infection, 35 to 40, who were ventilated, could be saved,” Dr Lalwani said, adding, “at least 75 staff members at Bharati hospital have been infected, and it has been a challenge to manage patients. In the last week, we have seen more critical patients.”
Dr Vijay Natarajan, CEO of Symbiosis hospital, said they had 500 beds, including 60 with oxygen supply and 30 ICU beds. “Initially, patients coming in between April and May had mild symptoms and, hence, there were plenty of isolation beds. But with cases turning severe, we definitely need continuous supply of oxygen cylinders,” Dr Natarajan said.
Home isolation picking up
Dr Kelkar said 1,700 patients had recovered and returned home and another 1,200 patients were under medical observation but had opted for home isolation. Dr Lalwani said at Bharati hospital, they had started counselling patients in the last eight days and 250 patients with mild symptoms had opted to stay at home.
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