From mild to critical: 11th hour syndrome puts Covid patients at mercy of bed availability

The city administration has been under the pump in terms of ensuring bed availability for these critical patients
As of Tuesday, of the 15,434 active cases, 616 are critical – close to four percent of the active cases. These patients need ventilators and intensive care units, or non-invasive ventilators.(PTI)
As of Tuesday, of the 15,434 active cases, 616 are critical – close to four percent of the active cases. These patients need ventilators and intensive care units, or non-invasive ventilators.(PTI)
Updated on Jul 23, 2020 04:46 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | BySteffy Thevar

As the intensity of the spread of Covid-19 hits grim new heights every day – 2,000 fresh cases recorded on Wednesday - the number of positive patients in critical care is also increasing – a jump of close to four times the numbers between June and July.

As of Tuesday, of the 15,434 active cases, 616 are critical – close to four percent of the active cases. These patients need ventilators and intensive care units, or non-invasive ventilators.

The city administration has been under the pump in terms of ensuring bed availability for these critical patients.

Dr Sunil Rao, general manager at Sahyadri Hospital said, “We often do get cases of people rushing to our hospital at the 11th hour when the patient is critical and requires oxygen or the ICU set-up with ventilators. The alarming thing is that these patients who come to the hospital are not just those with comorbidity or senior citizens; especially those who come in on the fifth or seventh day after the first symptoms showed. Even young Covid-19 positive patients who are asymptomatic or have just mild symptoms report severe symptoms in a short span of time. It could be because now the spread of the virus is very intense and also possibly the virus is showing mutations which is causing more complications. However, those in home isolation need to check their vitals, especially oxygen saturation, regularly. Even Covid-19 positive patients with a slight breathlessness must be reported to the hospital immediately.”

Dr Parikshit Prayag, Covid-19 consultant with the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital said, “In some cases we have observed that patients are rushed to the hospital at the 11th hour. We are seeing sicker patients now as compared to before. For those in home isolation, they can constantly check their oxygen saturation levels using a pulse oxymeter which is the only sure way to indicate the beginning of any complication. We have observed ‘silent hypoxia’ in some cases wherein the symptoms are not clear until the virus reaches a critical stage and so, an oxymeter is the only way out. The district authorities could provide an oxymeter for those who cannot afford one which can help save a lot of precious time.”

The number of critical patients rose from 174 as of June 1, to 616 on July 21.

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