Hyderabad: Critical care for dengue continues to be costly and doctors state that they have no say in the charges that are fixed by managements of private hospitals where the bills computed are as high as Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. The charges of an intensive care unit for the patient ranges from Rs 30,000 per day to Rs 50,000 per day and these costs often make it difficult for the patient to continue proper treatment.
A recent appeal on Twitter for help from the government for a seven-year-old girl suffering from dengue has brought out the costs of the critical care which can be quite a burden. Bandi Kishore got his daughter admitted to a private children’s hospital but the costs were driving the family to the edge due to which they appealed to the government for help.
Senior consultant paediatrician, Dr Altaf Naseem explained, “Dengue fevers are self-limiting and can be cured at home. But there are 5 per cent cases where there is low blood pressure, multi-organ failure which requires support and intensive care. But this cannot be for more than three to four days if proper medication is given. We have noted where the most critical cases stabilised in 48 hours.”
Longer time in the ICU is required for children because of their compromised immunity which makes them susceptible to infections and due to this reason they take time to recover. A senior doctor on condition of anonymity said, “The charges in the ICU include the medicines, critical care, nursing care, medical devices like catheters which are used for the patients and also constant monitoring that has to be done. These are the components of the cost factors. If a ventilator support is provided, the costs increase further. Children take time to get back to normal and due to that reason the number of days is more.”
Discounts offered are minimal, when patients or their families appeal for help, as the hospitals cite the various costs that they incur. Non-government organisations which work in these hospitals also help through private fund raising if the cases are very critical and gap funding is required.
President of the Indian Medical Association, Dr Narsinga Reddy said, “The small and medium sized private hospitals are always targeted for high costs. But the component of costs has medical devices, infection control, reusables, cost of hospital bed in terms of nursing care, doctors’ fees and also the cost of infrastructure. To add to all these we have 33 different components of tax which we are paying to the central and state government. Hence, it must be understood that these are the driving forces for costing and it varies from hospital to hospital depending on their gradation and standardisation.”
Quacks worsen condition of patients
Quacks in the districts and in the city periphery are found to give IV fluids to patients who come with high fever and in the case of dengue, the extra glucose is found to worsen the cases.
Paediatricians state that in the case of dengue fever, glucose worsens the symptoms rather than improving it.
Doctors state that severe dengue cases are now being seen often due to wrong treatment given in the initial stages and that is a major problem for patients who come from districts or city outskirts.
In case of fever,0 it is very important that oral hydration in terms of water is provided and there is enough rest. Children are often cranky and do not eat food, but maintaining proper fluid levels in the body is important, as it helps the body fight fever.
Experts state that all fevers do not require IV fluids and can do serious harm in case of dengue fever as it requires different fluids to control the fever.