With the death toll from dengue mounting to 18, and more than two thousand admitted with the disease, hospitals in Delhi reported a serious space crunch on Thursday.
Patients struggled to secure beds even as several hospitals have started emptying wards belonging to other departments to accommodate dengue patients.
"We have done a complete reshuffling of beds from all our departments. Fever clinics have been opened in the isolation ward near the emergency. We have emptied eye and ortho wards to accommodate dengue patients," said Savita Babbar, medical superintendent at the Deen Dayal Hospital.
AIIMS has asked other departments to reserve at least two beds each for dengue patients but even then there is a beeline of patients on stretchers outside the emergency ward.
Even the critically-ill dengue patients are being treated in stretchers in corridors due to lack of beds.
"We are giving treatment to critically-ill patients suffering from dengue on stretchers. We have no other options...the ICUs are full and we can't transfer them to other hospital as their condition is critical," said a senior doctor at the AIIMS.
At Safdarjung Hospital, patients are receiving saline drip while lying on the floors or waiting on stretchers even as three patients are sharing a bed.
While the Delhi government has asked all hospitals to open fever clinics, lack of space was hampering the efforts to attend to patients.
"We had to open fever clinics in the driver's room. There is resentment among drivers as we have taken away their rooms, but we don't have space otherwise," said Amita Saxena, medical superintendent of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital.
The new arrangements were made a day after Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain directed private hospitals to increase their bed capacity by 10-20%.
The death of one more child on Wednesday night, suspected to be from dengue, has taken the toll to 18. Officially the figure still stands at five.
Three-year-old Neha died at the Saket City hospital and her distraught parents alleged that a government hospital and a private nursing home in south Delhi did not provide her proper treatment.
Allegations of medical negligence had also come up after the deaths of two other children -- six-year-old Aman Sharma , who died at the privately-run Holy Family hospital and seven-year-old Avinash Rout who was allegedly denied admission by five private hospitals.
PTI reported that the Delhi government is now mulling to bring an ordinance that will give powers to the government to impose heavy penalty on private hospitals and to even cancel their registration in case they refuse treatment to an emergency patient.
Even as hospitals rushed to increase their facilities there were reports that the number of doctors available was proving inadequate to deal with the rising number of cases.
"In four hours, I had to tranfuse blood in 30 patients. There is a heavy rush and there is panic among people. They don't want to wait and we are falling short of people to deal with the rush," said a doctor at the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Hospital.
(With inputs from PTI)