Our emergency wards are blocked with Covid patients: PGI Director

Our emergency wards are blocked with Covid patients: PGI Director

Naina Mishra
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 1

“Our emergencies are blocked with Covid patients and we are at war,” said Prof Jagat Ram, Director, PGI.

“In the past, we used to see non-Covid patients coming to the emergency ward. Now, the ward is blocked by Covid patients and many of them are coming from the nearby states. Around 20-25 per cent non-Covid patients reporting to the emergency ward are testing positive. We have set up a triage for Covid-19 patients in the emergency area. Covid patients are referred from other states as well and we cannot refuse medical attention to such patients. At this moment, 71 Covid patients are lined up in the emergency ward to be shifted to the Covid-19 hospital,” he added.

In an exclusive interaction with The Tribune correspondent Naina Mishra, Prof Jagat Ram talked about challenges and preparation to deal with the second wave of Covid-19.

How will you ensure that there is no shortage of ventilators and beds?

We have more than 340 Covid-19 patients admitted to our hospital. In addition to the Covid block, we are in the process of adding up to 60 beds and enhancing the capacity of Covid-19 beds to 400.

Since we are admitting only severely critical patients, many patients who require oxygen end up taking ICU-bed support. We are procuring 20 ventilators from the Government of India and five more will be purchased from the MPLADS funds provided by MP Kirron Kher. Besides, the institute has initiated the process of procuring five more ventilators. At present, 72 ICU beds with 81 ventilators, including nine in standby, are being used for the treatment of Covid patients.

How is the PGI prepared to meet the shortage of manpower as it increases ventilators and Covid beds?

We can keep on enhancing Covid-19 beds but the ICU will not treat patients, it is doctors who treat them. At present, there is a massive problem of manpower because 250-300 doctors will appear for the MD, MS examinations till May 15. We have to put junior and senior residents, consultants from another departments on Covid duty. We have deferred vacations and leaves of all healthcare workers. We have requested the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to sanction 1,500 nurses for the institute.

‘Don’t come to hospitals if oxygen saturation is above 95 per cent’

The PGI Director, Prof Jagat Ram, has appealed to patients not to report to hospitals if their oxygen saturation is above 95 per cent. They should only come if saturation is less than 95 per cent. He said 90 per cent patients could avoid crowding hospitals as only 5-10 per cent require hospitalisation.

The Centre suggests lockdown in areas with over 10% positivity rate and 60% bed occupancy. Is lockdown a solution in the UT?

The most important thing is discipline and Covid appropriate behaviour. The Chandigarh Administration has already imposed weekend lockdown and evening restrictions. If people continue to violate norms, then the authorities are left with no solution but to impose a strict lockdown. Vaccination is a big weapon at hand to break the transmission and people should take it seriously.

‘Need for 1,500 more nurses’

To meet the shortage of manpower and handle Covid-19 emergency, the PGI has requested for 1,500 additional nurses from the Centre in addition to 272 junior residents and 211 senior residents.

How is the institute dealing with the shortage of remdesivir and tocilizumab?

Remdesivir is supplied by the UT Health Department and there should be no issue with this drug if a quota is given. As far as tocilizumab is concerned, we have received a few doses from the Centre. There was a collective quota of 200 doses of tocilizumab for Punjab and Chandigarh, of which we have received only 12 doses. We have raised the issue with the Centre and asked for a separate quota for Chandigarh and the PGI.

When is the second wave graph expected to flatten?

We are expecting some relief in the Covid graph in mid-May. It will take a whole year for the population to get vaccinated. If there is a decline in May, it will take three or four months to come down. But, the third wave is expected if people do not take adequate precautions.

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