Are Ludhiana hospitals prepared for the second COVID wave?


The positivity rate in Punjab’s six districts is worrying at more than 15% but average positivity rate in the state is 10%. The worst affected districts are SAS Nagar-21.99%, Ferozpur- 16.70%, Bathinda- 16.63%, Fazilka- 16.21%, Mansa- 16.02%, Muktsar- 15.92%. 

Even with the graph going up Punjab’s Chief Minister Captain Amrinder singh has said that he is not considering the lockdown as an option as it will make things worse for Punjab. Captain Amrinder singh has sent an SOS to centre this morning informing about the declining oxygen supply in the state. Captain Amrinder singh has requested Centre to increase the allocation for Punjab to upto 280MT/ Day. This alarm about scarcity of oxygen comes in the wake of 13 deaths in Rajindra Hospital in Patiala. DRPO Patiala confronted my tweet & said that the deaths have not taken place due to lack of oxygen but deleted the response soon after. The state continues to live in denial mode. 

Meanwhile in Ludhiana the state of affairs is more or less at breaking point. The images of people carrying dead bodies on rickshaws and autos are coming out showing that hospitals are not having a system to maintain the mortuaries anymore. Let us take a look at Ludhiana’s SPS Hospital to assess the conditions in the state. 

Satguru Pratap Singh Hospital is the second largest Hospital in Ludhiana after Civil Hospital. The other major hospitals in the district are CMC, DMC, Fortis, Deep Hospitals etc. In conversation with hospital’s operation department I found out that hospital has an intake of 50+ positive patients everyday. The Operations Department head Raman Singh maintains that on an average two patients die everyday. The number goes up to four or five on some days. The requirement of hospital is 1-2MT and the hospital is receiving its oxygen without any delay. At any instant there are around 45 patients on oxygen support in the hospital. 

Singh maintains that there are 10-12 patients from other states in the hospital at the moment with most coming from Delhi on their hired or private vehicles. Hospital like all hospitals in Punjab has an admission criteria of Saturation level less than 90 & Covid + Report. On Remedesvir, singh says that it is procured through nodal officers after the order of Punjab government to check black marketing. 

When asked about the dead bodies not being provided the ambulance, Singh maintains that these are false claims and that hospital provides mortuary services at 500/ per night. He said that Punjab follows a circular of Govt that requires each hospital to convey the dead count and details to nodal officer who arranges for the cremation. He said the ambulance is provided at charges by hospital. Singh maintains that even though the entire staff is vaccinated there are still ten positive cases in the staff. He said that hospital is prepared for the vaccination drive from May 1 but is apprehensive about shortage of vaccines. 

Singh said that even though the hospital is operating at its full capacity and has not faced any unfortunate incident but staff is always on its toes to keep check on oxygen. He said, “unfortunately we have to deny admission to hundreds everyday due to non availability of beds.” He maintains that if positivity rate in the state is not controlled the hospitals in Ludhiana will face Delhi like situation. 

There are 35 major hospitals in the district and similar situations are found in Life Line Hospital, CMC, Gurdev Hospital, Guru Nanak Hospital, ProLife Hospital and Verma Multispeciality Hospital. All hospitals in the district maintain that the positivity rate in the state needs to be brought down and effective mechanism to maintain oxygen supplies be implemented to save lives and avoid untoward incidents.

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