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As city struggles for Covid beds, shuttered hospital to be reopened

32 doctors would eventually be deployed at the facility if the patient numbers increased
Last Updated : 15 April 2021, 23:59 IST
Last Updated : 15 April 2021, 23:59 IST
Last Updated : 15 April 2021, 23:59 IST
Last Updated : 15 April 2021, 23:59 IST

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The first indications of a serious bed shortage were evident on Thursday when Covid-19 patients across the city struggled to find beds.

According to data from the BBMP and an independent assessment of the availability of beds, nearly 74% of all available Covid-19 beds in the city were occupied as of 3 pm on Thursday afternoon, as were 89% of ICU beds and 91% of ICU ventilator beds.

Amid these struggles, one hospital with about 130 beds, 28 ICU beds and about 20 ICU ventilator beds, which could help alleviate the crisis, stood empty.

This was the Charaka Super Specialty Hospital in Shivajinagar, which remained unused over the last few weeks because of lack of staff.

Dr Manoj Kumar H V, Dean, Bowring and Lady Curzon Medical College and Research Institute, which oversees Charaka Hospital, said it was shuttered for lack of medical staff, especially after 40 doctors who had been assigned to the hospital were relieved of their duties in January 2021.

Although officials said plans have been mobilised to reopen the hospital from Friday morning, they conceded that not all the vacant positions had been filled.

“It was assumed at the time that Covid-19 was under control and so, the doctors were redeployed for other tasks. We are now hoping to refill the vacant positions and fill all 40 slots within the next 10 days,” Dr Kumar said.

Meantime, the municipal chief commissioner said that he had raised the matter of activating the hospital last week with the chief secretary.

“We are not running out of general beds in the city, but the number of ICU and ICU ventilator beds available in Bengaluru have always been limited in number. What we are seeing now is a large number of late arrivals who have neglected diagnosis or care requiring ICU services,” he said.

20 doctors brought back

The doctors at Charaka Hospital were removed in January despite a prediction from the state’s Technical Advisory Committee predicting in December 2020 that there could be a second surge of cases between February and mid-March.

The issue was nevertheless unclear, explained Dr P G Girish, Director, Directorate of Medical Education.

“The surge started later than the prediction and in any case, we have now secured an initial number of 20 doctors, in addition to nurses and Group D workers to operationalise Charaka from Friday morning,” he said.

He added that 32 doctors would eventually be deployed at the facility if the patient numbers increased.

Last year, the facility had a total of 30 doctors, 10 specialists, six staff nurses, six lab technicians, two pharmacists and one dietician.

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Published 15 April 2021, 23:29 IST

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