Covid-19 In Delhi: Hospitals Struggling To Cope As Delhi Becomes The Pandemic’s Epicenter In India

On Wednesday, June 24, Delhi became India’s worst-hit city, surpassing Mumbai’s COVID-19 tally. The city’s healthcare system is caving under the pressure of the escalating pandemic. So far, it has recorded 70,390 cases with 2365 deaths.

At the start of the lockdown on March 25, Delhi had 606 cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths. As of June 8, they had more than 40,000 cases. The Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia, expects that by July ending, cases will have risen to about 500,000.

The situation is “frightening” says Dr. Arvind Kumar, founder of the LungCare Foundation and chairperson for Chest and Lung Transplantation at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi.

In 10 days prior to Monday, June 22, 23,000 new cases were reported says Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal. Even Delhi’s Health Minister, Satyendar Jan tested positive to the virus the previous week.

The majority of those infected, about 55% are isolating at home while the rest need medical attention.

An Covid-19 App To Help The Masses

Covid-19 In Delhi: Hospitals Struggling To Cope As Delhi Becomes The Pandemic’s Epicenter In India

In early June, the government launched the Delhi Corona App to let the people of Delhi know about the availability of beds at both government and private hospitals. It can also come in handy in laying complaints against hospitals refusing to admit patients in need of urgent care.

How Do They Get This Information?

Hospitals input the info onto the platform while government officials crosscheck the figures. They update the app twice daily.

But, even if beds are available, there seems to be a shortage of staff to man them. There have been many claims of mistreatment of Covid-19 patients. One of such is the story of Lakhjeet Singh.

Real-Life Story Of Mistreatment Of Covid-19 Patients in Delhi

Lakhjeet Singh, a 68-year old man, tested positive to Covid-19 after running a fever for some days. His son-in-law, Mandeep Singh, was optimistic believing that it would be addressed. But, due to the high number of cases and the “saturated” healthcare system, he couldn’t find a hospital to treat him. Lakhjeet’s condition, thus, worsened.

Three private hospitals rejected Lakhjeet Singh with the excuse of no free beds. He had strong reasons to doubt this because the Delhi Corona App had shown those hospitals to have available beds.

They eventually had to go to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) government hospital in Delhi. They checked the app before setting out and were sure that the hospital had 1,100 available beds. But on arrival, Mandeep stated that his father-in-law was turned away with the same excuse of no free beds.

Lakhjeet Singh fainted outside the hospital while waiting. Then, they rushed him in. Unfortunately, 10 minutes after being examined by a doctor, he was pronounced dead.

LNJP in an official statement denied that he was refused admission, proclaimed him dead on arrival, and simply offered their condolences.

Lakhjeet Singh’s daughter believes that the government failed them as expressed in a short tweet on Twitter on June 4.

Any Improvements So Far?

Covid-19 In Delhi: Hospitals Struggling To Cope As Delhi Becomes The Pandemic’s Epicenter In India

The situation of things is poor. One news report showed an unclothed man lying on the ground in the ward. There was another elderly person lying on the bed with no medic to attend to them.

With news of this sort reaching the Supreme Court, the court implored Delhi officials to increase the number of beds across the state. Also, they told them to provide appropriate infrastructure and staff for the care of COVID-19 patients.

Just as there are numerous patients flooding in, many doctors and nurses have also contracted the virus leading to a shortage of medical staff.

The president of the Resident Doctors Association at LNJP, Dr. Parv Mittal, explains that the situation is much better now. There are more housekeeping personnel employed(previously shorthanded) and CCTV cameras installed to monitor sick patients.

Action Taken

Covid-19 In Delhi: Hospitals Struggling To Cope As Delhi Becomes The Pandemic’s Epicenter In India

Testing rates have increased from 5000 tests a day to 18,000. Fees for isolation beds have been reduced significantly.

By Friday, June 26, a 10,000-bed capacity specialist hospital is expected to be ready.

The Delhi government is creating multiple facilities to treat COVID-19 such as hotel rooms and banquet halls. 500 old train coaches with 8000 beds are set to serve as isolation centers for mild cases.

Experts doubt, though, that Delhi has enough manpower for the extra facilities.

Frontline workers are exhausted and scared of getting the coronavirus says Dr. Kumar of Sir Ganga Ram hospital. According to him, there’s not enough manpower to run already functional hospitals.

Nurses want to resign and resident doctors are disappearing. Every hospital is facing the problem of manpower with very little people willing to do their duties.