Wenlock ICU runs short of ventilators, beds

'Patients die in suffocation during emergency situations'

The ICU of this hospital for the poor is functioning merely with seven beds and three ventilators, which is nowhere sufficient as the hospital handles several surgery cases everyday. In fact, the shortage of ICU beds is so much so that many patients are forced to die in suffocation during emergency situations.

In one of the recent instance, Harinakshi (17) from Napoklu in Kodagu district, who was suffering from Kidney disorder, breathed her last after fighting for life for about 12 hours in the general ward. Sharing grievance with Deccan Herald, Harinakshi’s father Sanjeeva said that his daughter was receiving treatment in Wenlock for 15 days. On the night before her death, at 1 am the girl had severe breathing problem, but she was not shifted to the ICU due to lack of bed and ventilator facility. “We pleaded the doctors to shift her to the ICU, but in vain. Finally, she was shifted to the ICU at 1 pm the next day, but it was too late and she had lost her battle for life. We could not save her,” he told.
He said that doctors too were helpless, as they said, “If we shift your daughter to the ICU, one of the patients in the ICU beds would have to die.”

Though the number of patients requiring intensive care is increasing every other day, the Hospital has failed to accommodate more than six patients in the ICU at a time. Responding to the issue, District Medical Officer Dr Sangameshwara said that the hospital had no space to accommodate more beds in the ICU.

“Perhaps we have to build a new building to increase the number of ICU beds. But the problem would continue until and unless we get more ventilators. Three ventilators are nowhere enough. On the other hand, ventilators cost too much, not less than Rs 10 lakh each. We would look forward for some sponsors or corporate houses to donate the ventilators,” he said.

He agreed that no efforts were made to demand the government to provide grants for ICU expansion and ventilators in the Hospital.

New emergency ward
If things go according to the plan, the hospital which was lacking emergency ward all these years would get the emergency ward in a near future. The hospital authorities have sketched out a plan for building 15 bedded emergency ward and the proposal has been already sent to the government for approval. 
  
Dr Sangameshwara informed that the Malaria lab, PG students’ rest room, Urology, Neurology and Neurosurgery Out Patient Departments will be shifted and the emergency ward will come up in the same place.

“A proposal has been submitted to the government seeking approval for the plan of action.  As per the plan, the ward will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 17,45,000 (civil work) and Rs 41,42,500 would be required to buy surgical equipment for the emergency ward,” he said.

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