Shortage of beds in Wenlock ICU hits patients hard

The Wenlock District Government Hospital in Mangaluru, which draws patients not only from Dakshina Kannada but also the neighbouring districts, is facing shortage of beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The 1,000-bed capacity hospital has a 12-bed level-1 ICU (capable of providing multi-system life support) and a seven-bed level-2 ICU (normal ICU). The ICU is used not only by in-patients but also patients admitted to the Government Lady Goschen Hospital in Mangaluru. As a result, the ICU beds are always occupied.

The rush is forcing poor patients to turn to private hospitals. On any given day, at least 10-12 patients admitted to Wenlock Hospital wait to be shifted to the ICU.

Recently, 32 people injured in a road accident at Kalasa in Chikkamagaluru district were shifted to Wenlock Hospital. Five of them had to be admitted to the ICU, but just three beds available were vacant. The two remaining patients had to be shifted to the ICU of the Kasturba Medical College Hospital, Wenlock Hospital Superintendent Dr Rajeshwari Devi said.

Set up in 1848, the Wenlock Hospital was taken over by the Madras government in 1891. The hospital is a boon for patients from coastal Karnataka, Malnad and Bayalu Seeme regions. Even patients from far-off Davangere, Gadag and Haveri districts come here for treatment. “Some district hospitals do not have ICU and other modern facilities. Hence, patients from such districts are referred to Wenlock Hospital. There has been an increase in patient enrolments from Davangere, Gadag and Haveri,” Dr Rajeshwari Devi said.

On average, 25,000-30,000 in-patients are treated at Wenlock Hospital every year, including 1,500 patients who are admitted to the ICU. “Pregnant women from Goschen Hospital who undergo complications during childbirth are referred to the ICU at Wenlock Hospital. We cannot deny them the ICU facility. The ICU has to take in patients from the two hospitals,” she said.

The new building of Goschen Hospital will have a state-of-the art ICU. In addition, the work on a second block for Wenlock Hospital will start shortly, which will have a 20-bed level-1 ICU besides a level- 2 ICU. Once these works are complete, the shortage of beds in the ICU will be addressed, she said.
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