The number of Covid deaths has risen in the last fortnight but doctors and public health experts said most of the patients died because of other ailments and not any critical condition resulting from the coronavirus infection.
The treatment of some patients might have suffered after they were transferred to Covid hospitals, which lacked the facilities to treat the primary ailments.
Public health expert Abhijit Chowdhury said there were cases where patients who suffered a stroke or with a renal or a cardiac problem visited a hospital that does not have a Covid ward.
When they tested positive for Covid during the routine pre-admission screening, they were transferred to a Covid hospital.
“The hospital that specialises in Covid treatment may not have the best resources to treat a renal issue or a cardiac issue,” said Chowdhury, who is also a member of the state government’s Covid task force.
“We should have Covid wards in all hospitals. It would be better if we have Covid units in every department. Such an arrangement will make it easier to treat Covid and the primary ailment simultaneously. Now that Covid is so widespread, we can no longer send someone to a Covid hospital.”
According to the state health department’s Covid bulletin on Monday, 33 Covid patients died in Bengal and seven in Calcutta.
The Sunday bulletin said 36 people had died across Bengal and 12 in Kolkata. On Saturday, 28 people died in Bengal and seven in Kolkata.
In contrast, on December 27, 10 Covid patients had died across Bengal and one in Kolkata. The next day, seven persons died in Bengal and two in Kolkata.
In several multispeciality hospitals, Covid patients are being admitted under two or more doctors rather than under the supervision of a single doctor, which was mostly the case during the earlier waves.
Usually, Covid infection is treated by an internal medicine or critical care specialist, said doctors. But now these hospitals are also putting the patient under the care of a specialist to treat the primary ailment.
“We should no longer wait for a person to get cured of Covid before starting treatment of the organ’s ailment (primary ailment). Treatment of the organ and Covid treatment should proceed simultaneously,” said Amitabha Saha, an internal medicine and critical care specialist at Medica Superspecialty Hospital.
Saurabh Maji, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at the Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS), said that in their hospital a cardiologist or a nephrologist was playing a greater role than a critical care specialist in treating a patient who has incidentally tested positive for Covid before admission.
Health experts said the problem lay in smaller hospitals with limited resources and infrastructure.