'83% victims at Ahmedabad hospital had comorbidities'

Over 83% COVID-19 victims at Ahmedabad civil hospital had comorbidities: Gujarat government told the High Court

Over 83 per cent of COVID-19 patients who died at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital suffered from "severe comorbidities," the Gujarat government told the High Court on the basis of analysis of 351 deaths at the facility.

Ahmedabad hospitals have so far reported 789 COVID-19 deaths, of which the Civil Hospital alone accounts for 415.

As per analysis of COVID-19 deaths at Civil Hospital prepared by the Community Medicine Department of BJ Medical College here, 83.24 per cent of 351 deceased patients had severe comorbidities, the state government said in a recent reply to Gujarat High Court.

These patients suffered from diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, CVA, pulmonary TB, liver disorder, psychiatric illness, cancer, neurological disorder, Parkinsonism, extra-pulmonary TB, seizures disorders, SLE, and rheumatic heart disease, it said.

The High Court had said "it is very distressing to note most of the patients in the Civil Hospital are dying after four days or more of the treatment", adding "this indicates complete lack of critical care".

The government cited a report by a leading infectious diseases expert, Dr Atul Patel, who said Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a major complication in patients with severe disease that appears soon after they suffer from dyspnea (difficult breathing).

"Among patients who developed severe disease, the medium time to dyspnea ranged from 5 to 8 days, the median time to ARDS ranged from 8 to 12 days, and the median time to ICU admission ranged from 10 to 12 days.

"These time periods are from the day of symptom to disease progression. Those cases who get admitted late may be already in the second week of their symptoms. Clinicians should be aware of the potential for some patients to rapidly deteriorate one week after illness onset," Patel said.

In its order on a suo motu PIL related to coronavirus pandemic made available on Sunday, the Gujarat High Court directed the government to ensure "all necessary medical protocols as are laid down for different categories of patients are strictly adhered to so that no life is lost because of any kind of negligence or non-attendance".

The court expressed satisfaction over the government's reply that 47 new ventilators have been brought to the Civil Hospital for those critically ill and that the strength of medical officers had been enhanced. 

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