‘No beds,’ say packed Patna hospitals amid Covid-19 spike
Amid the surging Covid-19 cases, finding a bed in a hospital with oxygen facility is turning out to be an impossibility in Patna, which has four medical college hospitals, something few cities in the country can match, besides the private nursing homes, registered or unregistered.
HT visited at least 15 hospitals and almost everywhere it found notices announcing “no beds” put up prominently.
“I had to first buy an oxygen cylinder for ₹18,000 and then admit my husband to a private nursing home, as no nursing home was ready to admit him due to uncertainty of oxygen supply. One of them agreed on the condition that oxygen supply would be my concern. In the government hospitals, seats are only available for VVIPs,” said Kavita Srivastava, a resident of Friends Colony.
Oxygen supply is a big concern for private hospitals. Kin of several patients are already weighing options of shifting them to Delhi. “You ask the government, and they say everything is fine, while the situation is so bad that even for a thermometer or a steam inhaler, one has to keep running from one medical shop to another, let alone oxygen,” said Ravish Kumar, a resident of Patna City area.
Ravish Narayan (48), a Covid-19 patient and a resident of Danapur, had to face an even more harrowing ordeal. After his health deteriorated on Tuesday evening, his family rushed him to a leading hospital near their residence in Rajabazar area.
Despite their pleas, they were advised to take him home. “There is no vacant bed, and he will be managed better at home,” they were told.
As the night progressed, his condition worsened, with oxygen levels dipping to dangerous levels, leaving him gasping for every breath that he took. Their efforts to find “a bed with oxygen cylinder” also failed in hospitals. After hundreds of frantic phone calls to friends and beyond, Narayan was finally accommodated at a private hospital. Currently, he is struggling for life.
The attendant of another patient said he had to cough up ₹54,000 for a Remdesivir injection. “I paid as I needed it. My doctor had asked for it. I was left with no choice but to pay. Remdesivir has become like liquor in dry Bihar. It is officially not available, but the black market provides the facility of home delivery. What I am saying is no hearsay. I have myself paid for it and I am thankful that the black market at least makes it available,” he says, not wishing to be identified.
With the number of fresh Covid-19 cases creating a record each day, the situation is likely to aggravate further. AIIMS is the first choice for patients in Patna, but it has limited number of beds and VVIPs hardly leave enough space for common people.
Rajabazar’s private hospital was packed to capacity on Wednesday when HT visited the facility. “There’s no bed at all,” a hospital employee on duty said. At AIIMS, patients and attendants were seen waiting for admission, without success.
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