Are Private Hospitals in Delhi Ready For The COVID-19 Pandemic?

By Priyanshi Sharma in Editor's Pick 30/03/2020

The novel corona pandemic, also known as COVID-19, has taken the nation by storm. The country is observing a nationwide lockdown, self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing. Funds are being raised to make sure that humanity wins this war against the global pandemic, however, the preventive measures cannot solely contain this situation. There is a rapid surge in the COVID-19 cases across the nation which has alarmed everyone. Earlier, only government hospitals were sheltering the patients with symptoms of Coronavirus, but now the Government has asked private hospitals to set up isolation wards in separate wings for the patients as well. 

 

 

The biggest problem for the private hospitals that has come across is the air conditioning ducts. A lot of private hospitals have common air conditioning ducts and since the isolation wards might have to share their ventilation with the rest of the hospital, it could lead to infectious spread. Countering this issue, Dr. Shruti Gupta, MD Radiodiagnosis from Sharda Hospital. shares that their hospital has set up an isolation ward with 100 beds. “We have centralised air ducts but the situation is being taken care of by the management of the hospital,” adds Dr. Shruti.

 

 

A reputed Private Hospital in Delhi has also set up an isolation ward but the senior staff member of the hospital expresses that “There is an acute shortage of medicine and medical testing kits. I’m not sure we would be able to handle it if a lot of patients turn up. We have enough medical staff to deal with the situation but the shortage of medical supplies will pose a big problem.”

 

 

Another senior medical staff member suggests that “It would have been wise if the government would have acquired two to three government hospitals entirely to deal with corona pandemic rather than having the facility scattered all over the place. This would help the medical professionals to contain the cases, pay attention to all the cases that surface and control the treatment. Now what has happened is that general patients who aren’t infected by Corona are not able to get medical help from the hospitals which is a barrier in overall health welfare for a lot of patients.”

 

 

The test for COVID-19 is capped at ₹4,500 but the private hospitals are not given clarity if they could charge the patients that fee if they test positive. Would the tests and care be covered under Ayushman Bharat Scheme for all the patients of Coronavirus? The medical staff members share that there are a lot of questions but not enough clarity on these subjects.

 

 

Dr Meenakshi Jain, Associate Director of Internal Medicine from Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj says that to handle this pandemic Government and private players need to come together. If China can come with a new hospital in days, then we can definitely open some locked down, but readily available hospitals.”

 

 

Some private hospital labs for COVID-19 sample collection have been identified by the Government. Strict protocols laid by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are to be followed for sample collection and transportation to nodal government hospitals by all the private hospitals. Dr. Meenakshi Jain Further adds that “For any suspected case of COVID admitted to the hospital, only a designated and qualified nurse geared in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can take the required sample, as per ICMR protocol.” Max Healthcare is also preparing appropriate isolated collection centers outside the hospital building, manned by a phlebotomist in full PPE, for outpatient sample collection.

 

 

More and more private hospitals are trying to prepare themselves with the right equipment and protective gear. India has also come out with its own test kit for COVID-19 in record time. Times are bleak but there is still a ray of hope. The nation wide effort and joint endeavour of public and private healthcare sectors will be the key to survive this global pandemic. 

 


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