Mumbai: BMC directs nursing homes to shift critical Covid patients to civic hospitals

As the number of Covid-19 deaths in Mumbai continues to rise steadily, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now directed the smaller nursing homes treating Covid patients to immediately refer or shift the critical patients to the civic hospitals. The civic body has warned smaller hospitals to shift critical patients without conducting any experimental treatment and wasting crucial time leading to worsening the health condition of the patient.

Last week, BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had said that smaller private hospitals have been admitting more patients than their oxygen bed capacity, then shift them to major hospitals when the case gets critical this the civic body was reviewing. As against this, the BMC administration has claimed that they have enough oxygen beds available.

"We have strictly instructed the smaller and private hospitals and nursing homes to not wait till the condition of the patient gets critical if the case looks serious immediately shift the patient to tertiary hospitals or bigger institutes run by the civic body like KEM, Sion hospital, Nair etc," said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health)

“Many nursing homes do not have intensive care units or enough number of ventilators. However, the patients are shifted to the BMC run hospitals from the nursing homes only after their condition becomes critical and have lost crucial time, it gets difficult to recuperate. The late treatment gives the patient less time for proper treatment or such patients have to be placed on artificial respiration as their condition is deteriorating. Therefore, when it is suspected that the condition of the patient is getting serious, the nursing home should immediately contact the ward war room and shift," explained Kakani.

These instructions were given as part of the civic body's campaign Mission Save lives, which was launched by the BMC last year to reduce the number of fatalities across the city.

Although the number of patients in Mumbai is declining, the death toll is still rising steadily. The city recorded 425 deaths in the third week of April. In the last week of the month, the number of deaths surged to 489 and the weekly mortality rate increased to 1.50 per cent as compared to 0.83 per cent in the previous week.

"Patients who have been rushing to private nursing homes are often treated on the spot, even if they are found to be in poor health, and are referred to municipal hospitals/ tertiary hospitals or bigger hospitals when the critical condition. The decision was taken after it was pointed out that small private hospitals have been largely responsible for high death rates in the city, we are still analysing the number of deaths if they were shifted from smaller hospitals only when critical," said another BMC official.

Kakani added: "We have already conducted training for the doctors and top management officials of these hospitals. This training includes the usage of medicines and vials like Remdisivir etc, allotment of oxygenated beds and review of the oxygen supply system. We have our teams visiting these hospitals to keep a check bed capacity, beds allotted etc. Are these hospitals going by the protocols?"

Kakani has appealed to the patients to rush to the hospitals without spending time at home when the oxygen level falls below 95, ‘We have enough oxygen beds. Even when the oxygen level drops below 90, some patients insist on being admitted to a private hospital.

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