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07 May 2021, 15:17 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • State hospitals subject non-COVID-19 patients to long waits

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16:12 HRS IST

Mumbai, May 19 (PTI)
Even as hospitals in Mumbai

grapple with the rising number of coronavirus cases, out- patient departments at civic and state-run facilities witness long queues of non-COVID-19 patients waiting to seek treatment.

Mumbai has witnessed a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases since the first week of May.

This has not only increased the pressure on staff at state and civic-run hospitals, but it has also led to the neglect of non-COVID-19 patients, especially pregnant women.

The state-run KEM Hospital and its neighbouring Nair Hospital, which is run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, can become a case study for how hospitals resources are stretched to the limit because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

While Nair Hospital, which has been dedicated for COVID-19 treatment, is swamped and filled to its maximum capacity, the government has reserved 400 beds at KEM for patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

This has had a cascading impact on non-COVID-19 patients, who visit the hospital's OPD, where they are subjected to a long wait.

"We cannot turn patients away. However, availability of beds is a real challenge. Several people wait till late in the night hoping to get a bed for their ailing relative," dean of KEM Hospital Dr Hemant Deshmukh said.

The state administration was also under a lot of pressure to create more medical facilities for COVID-19 patients, an official said.

Apart from the existing hospitals, the government had not created any exclusive COVID-19 care centre in the city, he said.

"Except one COVID-19 care centre at suburban Bandra (east), no such facility has been created in the city, the official said.

However, the most worrying part of the existing health crisis is the medical treatment provided to pregnant women.

"While alternate arrangements have been made for non-COVID-19 ailments, the administration is struggling to address the issue of pregnant women, who are either turned away by private hospitals or are asked to seek admission at state-run facilities," a senior health official said.

Almost all civic and state-run hospitals in Mumbai have reported a rise in number of deliveries because private hospitals were sending them to these facilities, she said.

"Pregnant women are more susceptible to infections and as the health crisis escalates, hospitals are under a lot of pressure to protect these women," she added.

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