Ranchi suffers due to shortage of beds; samples pile up
Prashant Kumar, a 30-year-old veterinary student, ran from one hospital to another in Ranchi for more than five hours on Sunday night for a bed to admit his coronavirus infected sexagenarian uncle but all his efforts were in vein.
Finally, Kumar took his uncle, a retired veterinary doctor, to Jamshedpur, around 125km from the capital city, where he was admitted to a private hospital. “My uncle is Covid-19 positive and his condition was serious. I booked an oxygen supported ambulance after facing lots of trouble and started searching for a bed from 8.30pm. I ran from one hospital to another till 1.30am. I visited at least 10 hospitals but nobody was ready to admit him.”
He said, “The oxygen of the ambulance was getting dry. Then, we visited RIMS around 1am. The hospital authority said they can take admission but can’t provide oxygen support. Finally, I took my uncle to Jamshedpur.”
The ambulance which they booked in Ranchi charged ₹17,000, Kumar said, adding that the ambulance to Jamshedpur charged ₹7,000 and ₹300 per hour for oxygen.”
Like Kumar, hordes of people were forced to run from pillar to post to get beds in hospitals amid rising cases of Covid-19. Ranchi on Sunday recorded its highest 1,076 cases and 14 deaths. The city registered 6,917 cases between April 1 and 11, and 50 people died during the period.
Even though the district administration claims to have arranged adequate beds, hospitals were facing acute shortage of oxygen supported and ICU (intensive care unit) beds.
All ICU beds in government hospitals of Ranchi were fully occupied, while merely 24 ICU beds were available at 22 private hospitals, according to a report provided by Ranchi administration on Sunday evening.
The district was also facing acute shortage of oxygen supported beds. Of total 784 such beds, 695 were occupied as on Sunday evening. As far as ventilators were concerned, 194 ventilators were available in the district, of which 121 were occupied.
Jharkhand chapter president of Association of Healthcare Provider India (AHPI), Jogesh Gambhi admitted that the city was reeling under acute shortage of beds at private hospitals. “Covid-19 cases have risen suddenly in Ranchi. Besides, huge numbers of infected patients are also coming from outside Ranchi, thereby increasing load of private hospitals.”
He said, “The private hospitals are increasing the beds as directed by the administration. But, it will take some time, as they have to handle non-Covid patients also.”
Despite repeated efforts, Ranchi deputy commissioner (DC) Chhavi Ranjan could not be contacted.However, officials in the district administration claimed that they arranged a total of 2,383 beds for Covid-19 patients and 1,203 beds were occupied till Sunday evening. However, most of the vacant beds were normal beds without oxygen support.
One Gokul Bhai lost his 54-year-old younger brother due to Covid-19. His brother died at Ranchi’s Seva Sadan around 6am on Monday. “Due to shortage of government ambulances, I booked a private ambulance to take the body to cremation ground at Ghagra. The ambulance charged me ₹6,000 for a five km,” he said.
Atul Gera, a volunteer at NGO Life Savers, said, “The district administration has no control over private ambulances, who are charging arbitrarily during the pandemic. We have repeatedly been informing the administration in this regard but it has turned a blind eye.”
Not only Ranchi but also the state was currently reeling under huge backlog of untested samples. Till April 11, as many as 21,411 samples were yet to be tested for Covid-19, according to the daily Covid-19 bulletin of state health department.
Besides, private laboratories were also overburdened with a huge pendency of samples. It was also found that few test laboratories in Ranchi stopped sample collection in order to clear the backlog.
Earlier on Sunday last, the state sent 5,901 untested samples, piled up in different laboratories, to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Bhubaneswar for RT-PCR test.
Health minister Banna Gupta on Monday held a meeting with officials concerned, directing them to increase beds for Covid-19 patients.
He directed all private hospitals to reserve 50% of the total beds for Covid-19 patients. The minister also ordered to convert residential centres of Skill India Mission into Covid Care Centres.