Thursday, Jun 30, 2022

HC Asks Himachal Govt To Come Clean On Hospital Bed Crunch

Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital, Shimla, unable to admit patients


Alarm bells are ringing over the packed-to-capacity Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) Hospital, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh’s premier health institution, which has been unable to admit fresh Covid cases during the past few days.

Those reaching the hospital, or referred from the peripheral health centres and hospitals, have had to wait for the discharge of those who were cured or lose their battle to the disease.
Extremely perturbed over the reports relating to the plight of the Covid patients, Himachal Pradesh High Court on 
Wednesday took suo-moto cognizance of the prevailing situation and asked the state government and secretary (health) to file replies on the exact situation at the hospital and also on the steps being taken to address it.

A division bench of Chief Justice L. Narayana Swamy and Justice Anoop Chitkara directed the government to inform the court about the measures being taken to tackle the situation as the issue pertains to the lives of the patients suffering from the pandemic.

Inquiries revealed that the 85-patient capacity Covid ward is full. Even an additional facility started on the premises for 18 patients is running short of beds and medical staff, including an adequate number of doctors.

“We had to wait for 48 hours to get a bed for my mother, whose oxygen level had started falling. We were told the treatment will begin only once we are shifted to the Covid ward. Today, I am feeling relieved as she got a bed and her treatment has begun,” the daughter of a Covid patient said over the phone.

Fourteen people died on Tuesday. Nine bodies are awaiting cremation.

A senior official of the Shimla Municipal Corporation – which handles the cremations of Covid patients --- said the coming days will be difficult if the spike in cases continues in Shimla town and nearby places.

Another government hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital, has added additional beds.

Currently, it has 90 beds and limited medical staff.

Although the state government had taken a decision to treat asymptomatic patients at home in order to avoid crowding in hospitals, the experiment has posed a new challenge to save lives of those patients whose conditions turn critical and are taken to the hospital when it becomes unmanageable.

Himachal PCC president Kuldeep Rathore squarely blamed the government for not taking steps to save the lives of the corona patients.

“More than 70 deaths alone this month and 700 positive patients being reported in a single day, i.e. on Tuesday, shows how grave the situation is. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has no time for the sufferings of the people despite himself having gone through the disease.

The state government’s plan to build five makeshift hospitals in the state, including one in Shimla, has not really worked out.

The work on the makeshift hospital proposed in Shimla has been delayed due to the public protests lodged by some taxi operators and shopkeepers –who have set up their operations from the site. They are not ready to vacate the place.

Festivals and wedding seasons are seen as one of the major reasons for the rise in the cases as the people are not following the Covid protocols.