Healthcare services at the civic-run hospitals were affected due to the power cut on Monday morning, following which major hospitals had to cancel their scheduled surgeries.
Moreover, the residents' doctors had to bear the heat of the load shedding as they had to check patients in the Out Patient Department (OPD) in exhausting personal protective equipment (PPE) suits in the dark. Doctors said currently they are managing with the generators due to which patient care has not affected much, but if the power doesn’t come for a longer time then it will create difficulties.
As per the medical requirements, hospitals have emergency power backups. All the emergency wards like casualty, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and COVID-19 centres did have an adequate supply of electricity. But to save the diesel, civic-run hospitals like Lokmanya Tilak General Hospital, also known Sion Hospital, BYL Nair, King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospitals stopped the power supply at their OPDs and general wards.
Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean, BYL Nair hospital said they have activated all the four generators and only COVID and emergency wards are active. “Until power doesn’t come we have stopped the supply of electricity in OPDs, but we have managed to check all patients visited the OPDs with phone light and torch. We have more than 500 patients in COVID and emergency wards so the main focus is on there, while rest minor surgeries have been cancelled,” he said.
Resident doctors at Sion hospitals said they have a backup for only two hours, following which they have few minor surgeries to avoid any unnecessary complications during the procedures. “We are trying to arrange for more fuels to run the electricity in emergency wards longer,” he said.
Meanwhile, the doctors were affected much as they have to work with their PPE in non-emergency wards due to which they are having excessive sweat. “Once, we wear the PPE, we can’t remove it until our duty gets over. So, we have no option but to continue working in the suit even though the load shedding has made the suit more miserable. We are precipitating profusely in the OPDs but we can’t ask the patients to go away,” said a doctor from KEM hospital.
However, private hospitals have been less affected by the outrage. “Our medical services haven't been affected in any way. We have a power backup which can last up to 12 hours. The OPDs and surgeries are going on smoothly,” said Dr Ravishankar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lilavati Hospital. The authorities from Nanavati and Bombay Hospitals also assured uninterrupted electricity supply in all the wards.
Due to the automated power backs at the jumbo COVID Care Centres (CCC), they did have an adequate supply of electricity for their ICU beds.
Taking note of the power cut, IS Chahal, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner, instructed all hospitals to contract transport garages of BMC’s solid waste management department to arrange adequate supply of diesel for the next eight hours to run generators.