When dengue patient Vimla Devi (50) came to Safdarjung hospital on Tuesday, she was running a fever of over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, doubled over with stomach cramps, haemorrhaging, and had a platelet count of less than 7,000.
She was admitted immediately into the emergency ward — and assigned a thin mattress on the floor.
Devi also had a mattress mate for company — another dengue patient — who was discharged on Thursday.
A platelet count of less than 20,000 is considered alarming, and may require transfusions.
Devi’s is not an isolated case.
Twin sharing and sometimes triple sharing of beds is a common sight in the medical ward of south delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. Being a tertiary care hospital, the government facility are not allowed to refuse a patient.
“A cubicle is meant to accommodate only four patients but we have to house as many as 6-8 patients,” said a doctor on duty.
Though the hospital says confirmed dengue cases this season are 11, an average of 30 patients a day are admitted with high fever and platelets below 60,000 — also symptoms of malaria, typhoid and enteric fever.
Confirmed dengue cases are patients who have tested positive in the dengue serology test.
“The cases we receive are not restricted to Delhi and NCR, but are from all over north India,” said Dr K.T. Bhowmik, medical superintendent, Safdarjung.
At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the situation seems less grim.
“They are no more than 1- 2 patients daily. The dengue is not acute and most don't need hospitalization,” said a senior official, unwilling to be quoted.
Until Thursday, AIIMS had registered 75 cases of dengue, as reported to the MCD.
The number of dengue cases has tripled in areas under the jurisdiction of the New Delhi Municipal (NDMC) from 2008.
According to NDMC, it registered 12 cases in 2008, and 41 so far this year. However, according to Municipal Corporation of Delhi's (MCD) Anti-malaria Operation (headquarters), NDMC has registered 71 cases.
Areas that fall under NDMC include Connaught Place in central Delhi and Sarojini Nagar in south Delhi.
According to MCD, it has registered 380 cases compared to 1,076 cases in October 2008.
Of course, the figures are strictly official.
(With inputs from Neelam Pandey.)