At Lohia hospital, immersion tub being used to treat those struck by heatstroke : The Tribune India

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At Lohia hospital, immersion tub being used to treat those struck by heatstroke

73 patients have been given this treatment so far

At Lohia hospital, immersion tub being used to treat those struck by heatstroke


Tribune News Service

Samad Hoque

New Delhi, June 20

The National Capital has witnessed at least 34 deaths due to heat-related illnesses this summer. In the last 24 hours, 18 people have died in the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital hospital due to heatstroke.

Immersion technique

Doctors immerse the patient into icy water in a 250-litre ceramic tub, where the temperature ranges from zero to 5°C. The clinic is equipped with two ceramic tubs, a 250 kg ice-making machine, rectal thermometers, ice boxes, and inflatable tubs.

Delhi BJP chief: Hospitals unprepared

  • Delhi BJP president Sachdeva expressed shock over the heatwave-related deaths, stating, “It’s shocking to note that every day, 14 to 15 heatwave deaths are being reported from Delhi roads, but the Delhi Government has made no arrangements to counsel the poor to stay indoors or at least avoid direct sunshine.”
  • He questioned the state of government hospitals, noting their unpreparedness to handle the influx of heatstroke cases. “Despite hundreds of heatstroke cases reaching hospitals every day, the government hospitals have no special wards ready to treat patients,” he said.
  • He also criticised the conditions in Delhi’s government-run shelters, known as ‘rain baseras’ which he claimed lacked basic necessities.

Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital alone admitted 73 patients struck by heatwave since May 27. From May 27 to June 19 (9 am), 47 patients were admitted and from June 19-20, 26 patients were admitted in the hospital. Currently, the hospital has 32 admitted patients and 26 are currently under critical care.

A special heatstroke unit was established on May 8 as temperatures began to rise in the capital. The unit was officially inaugurated on May 8, and although the initial period saw no heatstroke patients, the first case arrived on May 22. However, since May 27, there has been a significant influx of heatstroke patients, with the unit treating 73 persons using the immersion technique.

Doctors immerse the patient into the icy waters of a 250-litre ceramic tub, where the temperature range from zero to five degrees celsius. The clinic is equipped with two ceramic tubs, a 250 kg ice-making machine, rectal thermometers, ice boxes, and inflatable tubs.

“It takes approximately 25 minutes for the patient’s body temperature to cool down sufficiently, allowing him to begin recovery before being moved to the ward for further treatment,” said Dr Ajay Chauhan, RML Hospital. Emphasising the importance of rapid response in heatstroke cases, he said. “The best method considered for heatstroke is the immersion technique” he said. “For heatstroke management, early treatment is the only solution, every minute is of value.”

The unit’s refrigeration system is capable of producing 250 kg of ice per day and storing 50-70 kg, for a steady supply for treatment needs.

The initiative comes after years of planning and guideline formulation by Dr Ajay Chauhan and his team.

“The development of these guidelines began in 2021, with comprehensive protocols for managing heat-related illnesses. By 2023, the team had refined these into a cooling guideline. Following thousands of webinars and the training of 250-300 medical officers, the decision was made to implement these theories practically,” Dr Chauhan said.

The unit’s dynamic nature was demonstrated during elections, where ambulances equipped with inflatable tubs and ice boxes were ready to provide immediate care.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.


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