Bengal IMCT team finds major gaps in state’s Covid-19 preparedness at hospitals

Apurva Chandra, leader of the IMCT, has written a letter to the West Bengal chief secretary seeking clarification on these observations as well as further details on testing capability of the state government, details of persons who returned to Kolkata from abroad till March 8, etc.
The team visited CNCI (Chitranjan National Cancer Institute) and M R Bangur hospitals in Kolkata, dedicated for Covid-19 patients, on Thursday.(ANI PHOTO.)
The team visited CNCI (Chitranjan National Cancer Institute) and M R Bangur hospitals in Kolkata, dedicated for Covid-19 patients, on Thursday.(ANI PHOTO.)
Updated on Apr 24, 2020 03:57 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByNeeraj Chauhan

One of the Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) sent to West Bengal to assess the on-ground situation there, after inspection of health care facilities at two hospitals in Kolkata, has found major anomalies like waiting time of five days or more for test results of patients in isolation wards; bodies lying on the beds of the ward for four hours while a death certificate is being prepared and no social distancing maintained at the hospital, increasing the risk of spread of the infection.

Apurva Chandra, leader of the IMCT, has written a letter to the West Bengal chief secretary seeking clarification on these observations as well as further details on testing capability of the state government, details of persons who returned to Kolkata from abroad till March 8, etc.

Chandra has also sent the team’s observations to the ministry of home affairs.

The team visited CNCI (Chitranjan National Cancer Institute) and M R Bangur hospitals in Kolkata, dedicated for Covid-19 patients, on Thursday.

In his letter, Chandra has stated that “there were a large number of patients in isolation wards of CNCI as well as Bangur hospital awaiting Covid-19 test results for five days or longer. Specifically at CNCI, there were four patients, since April 16 awaiting test results, two since April 17 and 3 since April 18. Some of the patients have tested negative. It is not clear why the test results should take such a long time and there is a danger of Covid-19 negative patient acquiring the infection in the hospital while awaiting his test result”.

The team further observed – “The patient admission at Bangur hospital appears to be chaotic. There was no social distancing in the waiting area. Two patients appear to be in very poor health but there was no medical support available.”

About Bangur hospital, it further stated that the patients are referred here from other medical facilities. “However, it seems the patients are left on their own to report to the hospital and are not escorted. This would always leave scope for some patients not turning up or delaying reporting to the hospital.”

Subsequently, the team noted that there were only 12 ventilators at Bangur hospital while it caters to 354 serious Covid-19 patients. To this, the hospital authorities informed the team that in case a ventilator is not available and ventilator support is required for a patient, the patient is transferred to some other facilities.

On the basis of social media reports that dead bodies were lying on beds in a ward, IMCT enquired about the matter on the spot and found that “it is possible that dead bodies were lying on bed in a ward as it takes at least four hours to issue a death certificate, after which the body is shifted to a mortuary”. The state government has been asked to furnish records in this regard.

Based on a presentation given to the IMCT by state’s principal secretary (health) on Thursday, Chandra has asked for details of people who came from abroad to Kolkata till March and whether all those required to be tested have been found negative.

On the state government’s claim that number of tests have gone up from around 400 per day to 900 per days in last four days, IMCT has sought details on how many of these are repeat tests and how many are first time patients.

West Bengal informed the IMCT that surveillance teams are screening 1.25 lakh to 2 lakh people every day in each district. On this, the central team has sought details of number of screened people actually tested for Covid-19 and found positive.

IMCT also observed that from state government’s presentation before it, “it appeared that the state is reaching its peak capacity for testing”. IMCT has suggested that West Bengal should consider having 2,500 to 5,000 tests a day.

In a separate letter to the chief secretary West Bengal, IMCT has also asked for details on committee of doctors to declare the cause of death for Covid-19 patients and time taken by the committee in coming to its conclusion.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, December 08, 2021