Why citizens are unable to access right Covid bed info?
New Delhi: Even as Delhi's Covid-19 surge seemingly dipped slightly on Thursday, the day saw patients and their families across the Capital and the NCR region struggle to get critical care such as ICU beds and ventilator support.
While CM Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi government have repeatedly insisted that there are enough beds available, they have also acknowledged that many hospital beds could be made vacant if milder patients are redirected to care centres.
But despite the Delhi government's Corona application and the Covid-19 helplines showing beds available in many hospitals, the correct information on the availability of beds is not reaching citizens due to a varied set of reasons. For instance, officials in the know have said that those manning helplines often confuse the specifications of the beds sought and in some cases, the hospitals do not disclose availability as they fear the beds might get occupied by the time the patient got to them amid the surging infections.
On Thursday evening, for example, the Delhi Corona app showed 6 ventilator beds available for Covid-19 patients but upon calling, hospital authorities said all ventilators were occupied. Similar scenes were seen at many other hospitals.
And as major hospitals are kept busy with the constant influx of calls and patients, many hospitals such as GTB Hospital, RML Hospital, Aruna Asif Ali Hospital, Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital, Hindu Rao Hospital were extremely difficult to reach. The calls were left unattended with many patients complaining of similar behaviour.
A healthcare worker at AIIMS, on the condition of anonymity, said that hospitals were not prepared for such a heavy second wave. "There are no resources available at the hospitals. The ventilator machines that were promised to the hospitals are nowhere to be seen. It is a frenzy out here," the healthcare worker said.
A senior government official said one reason for a lack of ventilators in the city could be the lack of manpower to move the life-saving machines to hospitals that need them.
The official added that at times, hospitals, even though they have beds, do not say it because if by the time the person reaches, it may be occupied and then may cause the patient more harm.
In fact, the CM said on Thursday, "I came across a situation recently, where when an asymptomatic patient was turned back from admission to the hospital, the patient created a ruckus. This situation should never happen."
According to the Delhi Corona app, as of 10 pm on Thursday, there were over 4,500 Covid-19 ward beds, 164 ICU beds with ventilators, and 290 ICU beds without ventilators, available in the city.
But even as ICU beds are shown available on the app and by the helpline, many are unable to get to these options as most are insisting on looking for a bed in a few of the government hospitals. For instance, ICU beds with ventilator support are fully occupied at LNJP, Rajiv Gandhi SS, Safdarjung, Burari, Ganga Ram hospitals. But, most of the available beds are concentrated at the GTB hospital (100) as of Thursday night.
When contacted, even helplines always first suggest more well-known hospitals rather than some unknown facilities that might have the capacity.