Updated: April 22, 2021 11:09:51 am
A shortage of hospital beds continued in Lucknow on Wednesday as the Covid-19 second wave inundated the health services and patients struggled to get admission to medical facilities. A list of 96 private hospitals treating Covid patients, provided by the Lucknow district administration, was of no use as the numbers mentioned in it were found to be switched off or unreachable, and in a few instances when calls went through hospital officials said a referral was required from the Central Command Centre for COVID or from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
The Indian Express called up several of the 96 hospitals on Wednesday, but could not contact several of the medical facilities such as Ajanta Hospital, Avtar Hospital, Era Medical College, City Life Hospital and Trauma Centre, GCRG Memorial Luxmi Kant Pandey Hospital, Vidya Hospital, GSM Hospital, Globe Hospital, Relax Hospital and Trauma Centre, RSD Samarpan Hospital, Vindhya Hospital, and UP Hospital. The numbers of these hospitals were either switched off or not picked up.
The telephone operator at Medanta Hospital said beds were not available, with even the emergency ward in full capacity. A doctor in Fatima Hospital said, “COVID-19 treatment at the hospital has been stopped for a while.”
Dr Mahesh Kumar Yadav of the Govind Hospital, another medical facility on the government list, said that the hospital had been closed for a few days because of staff shortage amid an outbreak of the disease among them.
“We had to shut down as most of our staff members have tested Covid positive in the last few days. The list provided by the administration has been prepared without due diligence. Most of these hospitals are not Covid hospitals. Only the ones treating Covid before the second wave are genuine,” Dr Yadav added.
TS Mishra Medical College and Hospital official Vijay Srivastava said all 300 beds in the hospital were occupied. “If someone has to get admitted for Covid treatment, then a referral is needed from the CMO. Without that, admission is not possible. Once the CMO writes on your report, then admission will be done,” he added.
On April 15, a UP government Twitter handle named “Info Uttar Pradesh Fact Check” had dismissed reports that hospitals require a letter from the CMO. “…For COVID positive patients, with the help of Integrated COVID and Command Control Room, ambulance to tests to hospital admission is done… For this, there is no requirement of permission from the district CMO,” it added.
Chandan Hospital’s Medical Director Dr Farooq Ansari said in the evening that beds were not available in the facility. “We have a total of 75-20 ICU beds. But all of them are occupied, and 40 ventilators are running. We don’t have any beds or ventilators,” he added.
Undermining the government’s claims that referrals were not required, several people in Lucknow looking for hospital beds for their relatives told The Indian Express that medical facilities had told them that patients can be admitted only after a referral from the Central Command Centre for Covid.
Gauri Seth (25), a resident of Nishatganj, said her uncle’s family had contracted the infection. “The oxygen level of my uncle who is 65 years old has been dropping. The other members of his family have also tested positive and are symptomatic, and hence can’t even go to any hospital. We have been trying to get in touch with hospitals listed as Covid centres by the administration, but no one has picked up. We had registered at the COVID Command Centre in the morning and were given a registration number for all three positive persons. We were told when a bed is available, we will get a call, but it is 6 pm, and we have not received any help till now,” she added.
Jai Kumar (40), a resident of Sushant Golf City whose father-in-law Lakhan Tewari is Covid-positive, said he had called up all helpline numbers and private hospitals but to no avail.
“My father-in-law’s oxygen levels are falling. I have been calling helpline numbers non-stop, but no one is picking up. They are keeping us on hold endlessly. All the private hospitals are saying they don’t have any beds. We had called a private hospital, and they said they don’t have oxygen, and if we can arrange that, they will provide us with a bed. We are now trying to arrange oxygen cylinders, but till now, we haven’t found anything,” said Kumar, who works at a private firm.
According to data provided by the government on Wednesday, Lucknow has an active caseload of 55,980. Since April 14, 45,491 cases have been reported in the capital, of which 5,902 infections were recorded in the last 24 hours. Till Wednesday, 1,565 people have died of Covid-19 in Lucknow, with 195 of the fatalities occurring since April 14.
Despite repeated attempts by The Indian Express, Chief Medical Officer Sanjay Bhatnagar and acting District Magistrate Roshan Jacob were not available for comments.
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