PM-CARES ventilators not working, RIMS ICU doctors call for proper training
Defunct ventilators from PM-CARES Fund, coupled with lack of adherence to installation protocols and training to technicians, are giving doctors at the Covid ICU of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) a tough time, doctors looking after critical patients in Jharkhand’s largest state-run hospital said.
A senior doctor of the hospital even drafted an email to the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday, highlighting the challenges and difficulties they were faced with.
“Some of the ventilators just stop functioning abruptly, while some have technical glitches that lead to sudden drop in oxygen level. This is quite risky as patients may die of a technical snag in the machines,” said a senior doctor on duty at the Covid ICU, requesting anonymity as he feared he could be singled out and made to bear the brunt of a political attack.
As per details shared by the RIMS administration, the hospital received 104 ventilators for Covid patients from the PMCARES in the latest lot, and at least 44 of those ventilators had some or the other technical snag.
The Trauma Centre at RIMS, which has been transformed into a Covid care facility, has about 100 ICU beds and all of them were occupied on Wednesday.
Dr Pradip Bhattacharya, who is in-charge of the Covid ICU at RIMS, recently put forth his concerns to Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conferencing. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was quick to follow up with Bhattacharya on the issue and he has been in touch with representatives from the PMO since the meeting.
“There are protocols that we need to follow during installation of ventilators. Technicians also need to be trained for using the machines. I have apprised the PMO about the situation and we are also writing an email to them today highlighting the details,” Dr Bhattacharya told The Telegraph Online.
He, however, admitted that the hospital already had about 100 functional ventilators and some of them were provided from the PMCARES Fund.
“The situation is under control, but we still need to focus on training our manpower in operating the ventilators that we receive,” added Bhattacharya, who has served as a doctor for 25 years after gaining experience of intensive care at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.
Doctors working in the Covid ICU at RIMS did not wish to be quoted on the matter despite having trouble in operating the ventilators.
“Ventilators are not toys. These are serious medical equipment which require proper handling by trained people in order to be used for treating patients. You cannot just dump the ventilators here and expect technicians and doctors to figure out how to operate them on their own. It could prove fatal,” said a doctor at the ICU, requesting anonymity.
Other non-BJP-ruled states like Punjab and Rajasthan have also shared similar feedback about the PMCARE ventilators in the past with a Rajasthan minister calling the ventilators “junk”.