Coronavirus in Mumbai: BMC meets 15 city private hospitals

In a bid to address the issue of Mumbai’s high mortality rate, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) commissioner, on Monday, held a meeting with the heads and management representatives of the 15 private hospitals. The death share in private hospitals currently stands at 23 per cent, which increased from last month’s 15 per cent.

In the course of the meeting, senior BMC officials, COVID-19 task force members and hospital representatives discussed the city’s high COVID-19 fatality rate. It was decided to closely analyse hospitals that have a high mortality rate in the next few days. There are 33 private hospitals treating COVID-19 patients currently.

Senior doctors from top most hospitals, such as Lilavati, Fortis, Raheja, Jaslok, Hiranandani, and Global Hospital, amongst others, attended the virtual meeting called by civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal. One of the points that doctors highlighted was the late referral of patients from smaller to big private hospitals.

Alarmed by the high death rate, the city civic body had last week decided to hold a weekly review of all private and civic hospitals that have registered the highest death rates in that particular week. Ten hospitals with the highest death percentage would be picked every week. A team of specialist doctors have been pitched in to guide the civic body to identify hospitals.

"We will zero in on 10 private and public hospitals every ten days or a fortnight and hold a meeting with the senior doctors and management of these hospitals to investigate the reasons for the high number of deaths. The treatment protocol will be studied. We will verify if the treatment was timely and as per the protocol. With the help of the specialist doctors, we will help the hospitals give instructions on rectifications/improvements to be made in the line of treatment to arrest the number of deaths," said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner.

Kakani added, "We have clearly communicated to these hospitals that they should not hesitate to refer critical patients to public hospitals if need be. Also, they will be getting all kinds of support and guidance required to improve the line of treatment for COVID-19 patients and bring down the number of deaths. We even discussed that top hospitals can also take a cue from smaller hospitals, which have been able to curb the number of deaths successfully. Despite this, if the death rates remain high in certain hospitals, we will be analysing and studying individual cases to find out what went wrong and why the death occurred."

The overall death of India has dipped below 2 per cent, while Maharashtra’s death rate stands at 3.4 per cent. However, Mumbai's current death rate is 5.4 per cent, after Ahmedabad’s which is 5.9 per cent. This has become a major cause for concern for BMC officials and the health department.

“Many smaller private hospitals seem to be admitting critical patients. At their weekly review meeting, these issues will be investigated and reviewed." the Kakani added.

According to BMC data, July alone saw a death rate of 4.9 per cent, with a total of 1,796 deaths, which comes to an average 55 to 58 deaths per day. As on August 17, the city had reported 40 deaths, taking the overall death toll of the city to 7,170 deaths with more than 1.29 lakh COVID-19 positive patients.

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Free Press Journal