Considering the huge demand for intensive care unit (ICU) and ventilator beds across Covid hospitals in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation now plans to add 200 ICU and 100 ventilators beds in the next two to three days. Officials said most beds are occupied by patients from high-rises, leaving less than one per cent vacant for others.
According to the BMC dashboard, 42 of 2,765 ICU beds are vacant at civic and private-run hospitals, while only 19 of 1,415 ventilators beds are vacant. The demand for oxygen beds too has increased in the last four to five days.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said daily there were complaints from the ward war room saying every two out of three calls were about ICU beds just because the patients’ doctors asked them to get admitted and said they needed ICUs or ventilators.
“We are taking the necessary measures so that patients who are in urgent need get beds immediately. Accordingly, we plan to add 200 ICU and 100 ventilator beds to the existing numbers. Moreover, the patients need to follow protocol for getting Covid beds at the respective hospitals, for which they need to call ward war rooms and register,” he said.
Kakani further said the patients need to keep their patience on getting their corona reports, as there are other patients in greater need. “We will be adding more Covid beds depending on the demand. All-out efforts are being made to increase beds, especially in the private sector,” he added.
Health experts said many hospitals are complaining of a shortage of ICU beds. So, on priority, the civic body should increase the number of ICU beds to provide timely treatment to severely ill patients. Major private hospitals like Lilavati, Nanavati, Saifee, Bombay hospitals, among others, have run out of ICU beds, with patients being on waiting lists.
“The flow of patients has increased. As soon as a patient gets discharged from the ICU, we admit another one. So, we don’t have any vacant beds at the moment,” said a doctor from a private hospital.
Dr Gautam Bhansali, in-charge of Covid beds at private hospitals, said if the surge were to continue, the BMC would have to think out of the box. “Since the demand is mainly for private hospitals, the BMC may consider converting entire hospitals into Covid facilities across south Mumbai and suburbs. However, we are studying how many non-Covid patients are in hospitals and what their occupancy rate is,” he said.