Hyderabad: The outlook for Covid-19 patients, needing treatment in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), does not appear bright with doctors reporting that more and more such patients are requiring continued ICU support even after recovering from Covid-19.
This could well mean that the longer turnaround times for recovery among Covid-19 patients, has not just filled up practically every Covid ICU bed in the state, but also non-Covid ICU beds – with recovered Covid patients.
Even more worrisome is an increasing, but unmet demand for such beds from those afflicted with Covid-19, and deteriorating conditions requiring treatment in the ICUs, according to several senior doctors that this newspaper spoke with.
As on Saturday at 9 pm, as per the live bed availability status posted by the state health department on its website, 28,121 Covid beds — in private and government hospitals — were occupied by patients. Of these total beds in use, patients using ICU/CPAP, and oxygen beds outstripped those occupying regular beds by four to one.
“Though only very few Covid patients required ICU and other critical care during the first wave, this time round, we are seeing more patients needing such attention. And they are also taking longer to recover. And even after that we are having to find a place in the non-Covid ICUs for them as we are finding that the lungs of many of the patients are severely damaged,” Dr K. Subba Reddy, the chairperson of the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, said.
On an average, 5 per cent of all Covid-19 patients who need serious attention in hospitals, end up in ICUs, according to state health department officials. If their observations are right, then of the 49,025 new Covid-19 cases discovered since May 1 in the state, around 2,450 would require ICU beds.
Typically, admission to hospitals for Covid-19 patients during the second wave is occurring a few days after they are found positive. “Some patients are appearing near normal but with low oxygen levels and in less than 24 hours, losing their lives. The virus this time is destroying the lungs much more,” Dr Subba Reddy said.
As of Saturday evening, according to the health department, every one of the 619 ICU beds in Gandhi, 28 in Chest, 50 in King Koti, and 137 in Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences, all dedicated Covid hospitals, were full. Similar was the case with large and small private hospitals with Covid wards.
Since patients in ICUs are taking longer to recover and since it is not possible to create additional ICU capacities overnight or turn every ICU bed into a Covid bed, the outlook for patients requiring this level of care may not be bright.
Day – Total Covid beds occupied – ICU/CPAP – Oxygen – Regular
May 8 – 28,121 – 8282 – 14,054 – 5,785...