Delhi all out of ICU beds, just 11 left for pregnant women
With Delhi continuing to report over 20,000 fresh cases of coronavirus disease every day since the past 10 days (from April 17), the city has run out of dedicated intensive care unit (ICU) beds for Covid-19 patients.
The Capital has a total of 20,461 beds earmarked for treating Covid-19 patients, and of these, 4,705 are ICU beds.
The government’s Delhi Corona app showed on Monday night that 12 ICU beds were still available in the city. However, 11 of them are in Madhukar Rainbow hospital in Malviya Nagar that caters to only pregnant women with Covid-19.
The one other ICU bed was at the Trauma Centre at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which was converted to a dedicated Covid-19 hospital last year. According to the doctors at the hospital, however, the bed was unavailable since several patients were in the queue for admission. A resident doctor from the hospital said on condition of anonymity: “Many Covid-19 patients on ventilator support are already waiting in the emergency to get admitted.”
The phone number provided on the Delhi government app remained busy, and could not be reached, despite several attempts by HT.
The two cellphone numbers provided by Madhukar Rainbow hospital were switched off on Monday night. However, according to calls made previously made by HT, the hospital only admits women in advanced pregnancy who have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
The number to the two hospitals that showed the availability of ICU beds in the entire city remained unreachable despite chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asking hospitals earlier this month to ensure that no call went unanswered.
“The situation is terrible. We receive so many patients who are brought dead to the emergency department of the hospital. This is because they go from hospital to hospital in search of beds. Every hospital is full,” said a doctor at a private hospital in the city, asking not to be named.
The situation has worsened as two of the three big Delhi government hospitals treating Covid-19 patients reduced the number of beds in view of the persisting oxygen shortage.
Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, which is the biggest hospital in the trans-Yamuna region, reduced the number of Covid-19 beds from over 900 to 700 on Saturday. According to senior officials, the hospital’s oxygen plant was running beyond capacity due to the high load of Covid-19 patients.
“When a hospital is planned, it is thought that 20% to 30% beds will need oxygen supply. But, since we take in only the very sick Covid-19 patients, 100% of our beds require oxygen now. And, 50% to 60% of the beds need high-flow oxygen. This is putting too much pressure on our plant. So, we decided to reduce beds,” the official said.
Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital in Tahirpur on Friday reduced the number of beds from 500 to 350. The hospital was allocated a quota of 6,000 cubic metres of oxygen. With almost all its beds occupied by critical patients in need of ICU or oxygen therapy, the hospital was using up between 8,000 and 9,000 cubic metres, hospital officials said.
While Delhi government spokespeople were not available for comment on the ICU bed situation, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain, last week acknowledged that the city was running out of ICU beds.
“Yes, there is a shortage of ICU beds. We have requested the Centre to increase the number of beds in their hospitals to 7,000. Currently, there are 2,000 beds in Central government hospitals. The Centre will increase 700 to 800 ICU beds soon,” Jain said at the time.