50% ventilators at dedicated Covid-19 hospitals in Pune occupied; shortage of medical staff likely: experts
The civic body’s projection states that by July 31, the city will see over 40,000 cases and will fall short of 340 ICU beds and 172 ventilator bedsUpdated: Jun 28, 2020 16:30 IST
Even as the city’s recovery rate is over 58 per cent as of June 26 and the mortality rate remains below four per cent at 3.8 per cent, the number of critical patients is on the rise, according to Pune Municipal Corporation data.
Out of the 5,575 active cases as of Friday, 330 are in critical condition which is about 5.9 per cent of the active cases, according to PMC data. Also, out of the 580 beds without ventilators, 230 are occupied and 60 ICU beds with ventilator are occupied out of 288 beds.
Increase in critical cases means that there is added pressure on the health infrastructure and medical experts.
Shekhar Gaikwad, PMC commissioner, said, “Only private hospitals have the required number of ventilators and ICU beds and so we will regulate more private hospitals.”
“The critical patients are those who have comorbidity or have reported late to the hospital. Those who seek regular treatment for a few days at the right time do not usually need critical care service,” he added.
Out of the total 18,556 available beds, 580 are ICU beds and 288 are ICU beds with ventilators. These also included regulated beds from private hospitals. The 16 private hospitals have 189 beds are ICU beds with oxygen and 85 ICU beds with ventilators which are regulated as per the state government’s GR on May 21. Out of these 50% are reserved for Covid-19 patients.
The civic body’s projection states that by July 31, the city will see over 40,000 cases and will fall short of 340 ICU beds and 172 ventilator beds. However, even if the civic body fulfils the required shortage, the city is likely to face a shortage of medical experts like intensivists required to look after patients who are in a critical condition.
Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president, Indian Medical Association (Maharashtra chapter), said, “The government is now resorting to asking general physicians to work as intensivists in Covid-19 wards. One of our members has been asked to work in the Covid-19 ward of Sassoon hospital who is a general practitioner.”
“The government is filling the pinch of shortage of expert doctors who would take care of critical patients which is why it is resorting to such methods. How can a general practitioner attend to an ICU ward?” said Dr Bhondwe.
According to Gaikwad, it is not possible for the PMC to fill in the vacant posts overnight which were left unattended for the past 50 years. “Regulating more and more private hospitals is the only way for which we will start the process once again from Monday. It takes at least 2-3 days to ensure that the private hospitals follow the regulation and update their data on the dashboard,” he said.
To fill in the requirement of medical experts, the civic body is hiring five MBBS doctors, 73 BAMS doctors, 111 junior nurses, 125 ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife), 34 lab technicians and 50 assistant lab technicians and six doctors and 22 nurses under the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) programme.