TIRUPATI: Even as the country is facing a serious shortage of essential medicines and key medical devices amid the surge in the Covid-19 second wave, medical devices like pulse oximeters, non-contact thermometers and humidifiers etc are disappearing from the special Covid-19 wards in government hospitals across Chittoor district.
The government hospitals treating Covid patients in the district include Sri Padmavathi State Covid Hospital and SVR Ruia Government General Hospitals in Tirupati and district hospitals in Chittoor and Madanapalle. The Covid care centres (CCC) include TTD’s Sri Padmavathi Nilayam, Srinivasam, Vishnu Nivasam and mini-CCCs at all assembly constituencies and mandal headquarters.
The Covid hospitals and CCCs in the district turned the tide during the first wave of Covid, with the support of district medical and health department and donors, who helped in the procurement of enough medical supplies and devices including the pulse oximeters, non-contact thermometers, humidifiers, oxygen concentrators, ventilators etc.
The demand for medical devices again shot up due to the massive surge in new cases during the second wave, which pushed the hospital authorities to purchase medical devices in bulk quantities.
With the procurement of sufficient medical devices, the Covid hospitals and CCCs are providing pulse oximeters, thermometers and humidifiers to the patients on admission, asking them to return those devices to the hospital before they get discharged. Some patients are, however, not returning the devices and are taking them home.
This was found when officials conducted an audit of medical devices at Covid wards in various hospitals in the district. They found fine-quality medical devices missing in huge quantities. At some point, even the bed-sheets were also gone, said a senior official on condition of anonymity.
The district officials estimate that the value of the stolen items could run into a few lakhs. It is quite difficult to procure the devices again at the time of crisis, they said. “Those who are stealing medical devices should understand they are cheating the ones who treated them. Because of their mischief, there is a shortage of devices and it is in turn causing inconvenience to other patients,” said the senior official.