Millennium Post

Beds coming but still out of reach for residents

Beds coming but still out of reach for residents

New Delhi: While the Capital seems to have somewhat overcome the oxygen crisis, for the time being, its bed crisis is now starting to overwhelm patients in the city with government officials scrambling to find the healthcare workers needed to man the thousands of critical care beds being added across Delhi.

The Delhi government is adding ICU and oxygen beds on a war footing for sure but the availability of these beds and their triaging is still missing from the city's pandemic response with the official mobile application for Covid beds not serving its purpose.

According to the official dashboard, there are a total of 22,801 hospital beds allocated to Covid-19 patients in Delhi, of which a little over 3,300 ward beds, 2,300 oxygen beds, and 56 ICU beds are vacant as of Monday night.

But upon checking, Millennium Post on Monday found that the majority of the hospitals that showed available beds on the website either denied the information upon calling or said that the only way they can give information is if the patient is brought to the emergency room.

In addition, a large number of hospitals did not have functioning phone numbers listed on the Delhi government's Covid bed dashboard. While some of these hospitals had phone numbers that were not reachable or were busy for continued periods of time, many others said the information on the mobile application was incorrect and that there were no beds available at the facility, such as the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital.

Without a central helpline for Covid patients to call and get in line for hospital beds, any patient requiring a hospital bed will need to call the hospitals listed on the official list one by one before getting a confirmation. Moreover, even when hospitals do answer, most of them refuse to divulge information on bed availability unless the patient is brought into the emergency room. Many hospitals have said they do not want to risk giving patients hope while knowing that their bed might get occupied by the time they are brought there.

As a result, most patients have to take a gamble looking for hospital beds, step out — in the hopes that one of the hospitals on their way will admit them.

In many cases, such as the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, where the dashboard showed oxygen beds were available, the hospital staff manning the helpline did not have any information related to the admission procedure or the bed availability.

On the website there have been many numbers provided, out of which only a few numbers are reachable and answered, the remaining numbers remain unavailable.

"When my grandmother's condition deteriorated and the doctor on call advised us to get her admitted, I didn't know what to do... I ended up starting my car and going around the city looking for an ICU bed, and by the end of the day, we managed to get a bed in a hospital in Gurgaon," said Diva Sinha.

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