MUMBAI: Covid-19 patients and their kin desperately looking for an ICU or ventilator bed has become a common sight in the city these days. The wait can stretch into hours.
“Even for patients with respiratory failure, it takes at least six to eight hours, or even more, to get an ICU bed,” a doctor from a private hospital said.
In BMC-run Sion hospital, at any given time there are 10 to 15 patients in the emergency department on oxygen support, waiting for an ICU bed.
A BMC official said that the turnaround time for an ICU bed is always high. “Patients on ICU beds cannot be discharged,” the official said.
AAP said its team had also found a lag in the BMC dashboard meant to display live updates of available beds. “The dashboard does not show a bed is available but, on calling war rooms, officials say a bed that was recently available was just allocated by them. Basically, the information was not synchronised with the dashboard,” an AAP member said.
Congress corporator Ravi Raja said that in the BMC standing committee meeting held earlier in the day, he raised the issue of the dashboard providing no clarity on where the vacant oxygen and ICU beds it displayed were available in the city. “After raising the issue, the administration says they are preparing for the third wave. But when you can’t handle the situation now, what will happen during the third wave?” Raja said.
He said the administration should be more proactive in providing information to corporators, who are in direct touch with citizens.
BJP corporator Vinod Mishra said augmentation of ICU beds should have been accomplished after the first wave. “The case numbers have more than doubled now and the ICU bed numbers have not been accordingly increased,” he said. “I call the dashboard a ‘deadboard’ as the BMC shows some figures for oxygen, ventilator and ICU beds and the ground reality is different. I know of three patients who are waiting in queue to get an ICU bed,” he said.