A 102-year-old patient, Dharamdasi of Kinnaur district, who had tested positive for Covid on May 14, was discharged from IGMC, where she was admitted after complaining of headache, fever and difficulty in breathing, on Thursday. (HT Photo)
A 102-year-old patient, Dharamdasi of Kinnaur district, who had tested positive for Covid on May 14, was discharged from IGMC, where she was admitted after complaining of headache, fever and difficulty in breathing, on Thursday. (HT Photo)

Covid crisis: With private units backing out, govt hospitals become Shimla’s lifeline

Two hospitals — Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) and Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) hospital — have been shouldering the Covid burden of the state
By Gaurav Bisht, Shimla
UPDATED ON MAY 27, 2021 10:47 PM IST

With the lethal second wave of the pandemic raging across the ‘queen of hills’, private players have refused to admit and treat coronavirus patients, making the two primary government hospitals in Shimla, the state capital, the lifeline of the masses in this hour of crisis.

The two hospitals — Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) and Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) hospital — have been shouldering the Covid burden of the state. While IGMC has been admitting patients from Sirmaur, Kullu, Kinnaur and Solan apart from Shimla, DDU only admits patients from Shimla. Despite limited resources and heavy caseload, the staff, comprising doctors, paramedical staff and Class-4 workers, has been working round the clock to tackle the pandemic.

102-year-old woman beats Covid

A 102-year-old patient, Dharamdasi of Kinnaur district, who had tested positive for Covid on May 14, was discharged from IGMC, where she was admitted after complaining of headache, fever and difficulty in breathing, on Thursday.

An IGMC spokesperson said, “None of her family members were present with her at the hospital. She was looked after by the hospital staff. It is a matter of pride for us that she has made complete recovery as it a challenge to treat people her age.”

Another almost centenarian, 99-year-old Suvdha Devi Bhimta who contracted the viral disease recovered after a month-long stint at DDU. “The two private hospitals in Shimla were not admitting Covid patients so we had no option but to admit her to DDU. However, we were pleasantly surprised as she was looked after properly and made a full recovery at her advanced age,” said her son-in-law Jaisi Ram Jodhta,

“There was shortage of nurses, but oxygen supply was sufficient. We were also provided with an ambulance on our way home after my mother-in-law’s recovery. Medical superintendent Dr Ravinder Mokta and his team were very vigilant,” he said.

‘DDU Covid ward was like a high-end hotel’

Another family had a close brush with death after everyone, except two children, tested positive for the virus and had to be hospitalised. Suresh Chauhan, his wife, mother and elder brother had to be hospitalised at DDU as their oxygen levels dipped. Chauhan and his wife’s oxygen level had plummeted to 80 and their lungs were severely damaged. As their health deteriorated, they were put on ventilators. As they battled the virus, neighbours stepped in to look after their children. Unfortunately, his mother succumbed to the infection and had to be cremated by relatives.

Chauhan attributes his family’s recovery to the efficiency and kindness of the hospital staff from the specialists to the sanitary staff. “Surprisingly, the food quality and hygiene standard in the Covid ward was like a high-end hotel,” Chauhan said.

“The credit goes to the entire staff, they have been putting in relentless efforts,” says Mokta.

2% mortality rate at IGMC

IGMC, the state’s premier health institute, which treats the most critical patients, and has a mortality rate of around 2%. As many as 2,025 patients admitted at the hospital since the outbreak have recuperated, 241 are undergoing treatment and 568 patients have succumbed.

“As per the World Journal of Death and Dying, the Covid death rate world over has been estimated to be 2-3%. In many countries it has been as high as 5%,” says medical superintendent Dr Janak Raj Pakhretia.

The hospital has also provided dialysis to 235 Covid patients. It is the only hospital in the state, which has continued non-Covid OPD even during the peak of the virus.

In 2020, the IGMC held 4,24,788 outpatient departments (OPDs) on non-Covid patients while this year 2,00,536 patients have been attended.

Six lakh liters of oxygen has been used at IGMC since the outbreak. No shortage was reported despite heavy caseload.

Jai Ram visits Virbhadra in IGMC

SHIMLA: Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur visited Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, on Thursday to enquire after the health of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who was hospitalised on April 30.

Congress’s octogenarian leader and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh had been admitted to Indira Gandhi Medical College’s (IGMC’s) cardiac unit ICU on April 23 after he complained of difficulty in breathing. He had just been discharged from Max Hospital in Mohali where he was being treated for Covid. He had been brought to Shimla in the state chopper. The 86-year-old leader had tested positive for Covid on April 13.

The CM was accompanied by urban development minister Suresh Bhardwaj, IGMC principal Dr Rajneesh Pathania, senior medical superintendent Dr Janak Raj and other senior officers.

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