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Covid fear fuels rise in admissions in private hospitals

Needless stay in hospital will lead to crisis: Experts

Sanjay Mandal | Published 05.01.22, 04:09 AM
A crowded Bidhannagar station on Tuesday evening.

A crowded Bidhannagar station on Tuesday evening.

Bishwarup Dutta

Private hospitals in the city have witnessed a surge in Covid admissions over the past three days, forcing them to increase beds on an emergency basis and many are apprehending a crisis if the trend continues.

Hospital officials and doctors said there were several factors, including panic, among a section of people. Most of them are asymptomatic, would come to hospitals for other treatments and tested positive during the routine tests. They demand for monoclonal antibody cocktail and want to get admitted because of no isolation facilities at home.

Most patients admitted in hospitals are having mild symptoms and do not require oxygen support, said doctors. Public health experts warned that “unnecessary admissions” will put pressure on the healthcare system and those genuinely in need of admission would be denied so.

Till Monday, Belle Vue Clinic had 87 Covid patients admitted in as many beds. On Tuesday, as new patients started taking admission, the hospital increased the number of Covid beds to 122. “Till evening, we had 98 (Covid) patients. But still more were getting admitted late in the evening. If this continues, we’ll have to increase the beds further,” said Belle Vue CEO Pradip Tondon.

He said that out of 98, 19 patients were in the critical care unit. “None of the patients in the wards need oxygen support, and all have mild symptoms,” said Tondon. He said there was a rush to take monoclonal antibody cocktail drugs.

At RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, 61 patients were admitted on Tuesday. The hospital has 111 beds.

“Covid admissions have a steep jump in the past three days. Three days ago, we had 24 patients admitted, and now, it’s 61,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east, of Narayana Health of which the RN Tagore hospital is a flagship unit. He said that out of 61, 18 patients were in the critical care unit. The ratio was much higher during the second wave.

“Mainly, people, who have co-morbidities and those with no isolation facilities at home, are requesting for admission,” said Venkatesh.

AMRI hospitals added 110 beds overnight across its three units at Dhakuria, Mukundapur and Salt Lake because of the rise in admissions. Till Tuesday evening, 137 beds were occupied.

Peerless Hospital has also added one 50-bed Covid ward after the surge in admissions. The hospital had 45 Covid beds on Monday and the next day, it had 95 with 56 patients. Seven of them were in the ICU, said officials.

“Most patients have mild symptoms. Now the problem is — we have a large number of non-Covid patients along with the Covid ones,” said Sudipta Mitra, chief executive of Peerless Hospital. He said unlike in the first and second waves, non-Covid patients were still coming to hospital in large numbers.

Chandramouli Bhattacharya, infectious diseases expert at Peerless Hospital, said a big number of Covid patients getting admitted this time were asymptomatic and coming to hospital to get treated for other ailments. Covid was getting detected during routine tests.

“At least five out of 12 patients admitted under me actually came for other treatments and had no symptoms,” said Dr Bhattacharya.

On Tuesday, an elderly man who fell in his house was brought to Peerless Hospital and a CT scan revealed a blood clot in his brain. A routine Covid test, done before admission, revealed he was positive, he said.

“This shows how the virus has spread in our community and the high number of asymptomatic patients,” said Dr Bhattacharya.

Public health experts warned against unnecessary admissions. “Doctors and hospitals will have to decide whom to admit based on evaluation,” said public health expert Abhijit Chowdhury.

Last updated on 05.01.22, 04:37 AM
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