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Last Updated : Sep 16, 2020 03:01 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Denial of treatment: COVID patient's death puts spotlight on ICU shortage in Bengaluru

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is currently conducting a probe into his death.

Representative image
Representative image

A 46-year old man who sought treatment for COVID=19 at a Bomannahalli hospital in Bengaluru died after the hospital refused to give him a bed fearing that his condition will worsen. This comes in the wake of a shortage of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the city, a problem that began almost five days ago, Deccan Herald reported.

Speaking to the paper, Tauseef Ahmed of the NGO Mercy Angels, said he was turned away even though the patient's oxygen saturation level was too low. "His oxygen saturation was 40 percent but the hospital would not allot the bed. Instead, they tried to move him to Apollo Hospital. He died while en route," Ahmed said.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is currently conducting an investigation into his death.

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"We are now facing this problem because the Department of Health and Family Welfare did not properly assess the available beds within private hospitals. Most of the figures provided to them were bogus," said a health official on condition of anonymity.

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According to government data available, there are 144 ICU ventilator beds in government hospitals and medical colleges in the city, plus 418 such beds in private hospitals or medical colleges. However not a single bed was available on September 16, the report said.

Officially, there are 263 COVID-19 patients under ICU care in the city, which translates to an occupancy rate of 46.7 percent, but officials and field volunteers say that many of these beds are being used by private quota patients.

According to the report, Omprakash Patil, Director of the Department OF Health and Family Welfare (DoHFW) acknowledged the ongoing problem. "When asked about why government quota beds have been given to private patients, the hospitals say it is difficult to turn away a private patient requiring a ventilator," Patil said.

According to a senior BBMP official, the inflow of people from surrounding districts where medical infrastructure is weak also adds to this problem. "There are many people from surrounding districts such as Tumkuru and Kolar, claiming residency in the city and occupying beds in Bengaluru hospitals. This is aggravating the shortage," the official said.
First Published on Sep 16, 2020 03:01 pm
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