Deccan Chronicle

Paucity of oxygen-fitted beds hits COVID-19 treatment in Telangana

Deccan Chronicle| Kaniza Garari

Published on: July 5, 2020 | Updated on: July 5, 2020

The case fatality rate according to the data provided by state government is 1.38 percent

Representative Image. (ANI Photo)

Representative Image. (ANI Photo)

Hyderabad: The crunching shortage of oxygen-equipped beds in Hyderabad was not envisioned by the government or private hospitals, though they had the time to build infrastructure during the 80 days of lockdown, when the caseload was not as heavy as it is now. Preparedness of both sectors is completely lacking.

A senior public health specialist in the city said, "We had sufficient time but the analysis of worst case scenario was not done well, which led to this situation. Private hospitals have no beds because a separate system has to be in place for Covid-19 patients. Non-Covid patients cannot be exposed to the infected patients. This makes it difficult to build complete capacity. It required proper planning which was not there."

To add to the problem is the severity of infection in patients with co-morbid conditions, the low oxygen levels causing hypoxia and senior citizens whose exposure via family members is leading to complications.

The case fatality rate according to the data provided by state government is 1.38 per cent. This is because there are restrictions in treatment and, apart from the standard care, critical care requires permission from the government.

Take the case of a doctor’s father, a Covid-19 positive senior citizen, in a private hospital who was denied plasma therapy. He was kept on ventilator support for eight days.

Deaths from private hospitals are not recorded in the medical bulletin provided by the health department every day, and the information is only in the records of the GHMC.

The way forward is the biggest challenge as the cases are bound to rise till July end. Dr Rahul Medakkar, chief executive officer of Continental Hospitals, said, "A public private collaboration  in healthcare is the need of the hour and it must be carried out by the state on a war-footing. There must be incentivisation so that the maximum number of lives can be saved."

The need of the hour is also to set up an independent committee of public health specialists, non-government organisations and senior doctors to guide the government in the management of cases.

Dr Santosh Kraleti, public health specialist, said, "We need not only hospitals of the state government but also the Central government hospitals of the Army, ESI and other centres to be opened for managing severe cases. The infrastructure is available in Hyderabad and it must be pooled together to tackle this crisis.

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