Chaotic Scenes at Nagpur Hospitals as Covid Crisis Deepens

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Most of the 1,000 patients being admitted daily for Covid-19 treatment are in the above-50 age category, said Anusuya Kale Chhabrani, president of Swacch Association, Nagpur.

While hospitals are under-staffed with many doctors and nurses turning Covid-positive, ordinary citizens suffering from other ailments are being turned away. Even the city’s Municipal Commissioner and a top police officer have tested positive

Ashok Kumar | Clarion India

MUMBAI – The situation at the Nagpur Municipal Corporation control room is chaotic with hundreds of calls from desperate patients and relatives seeking admission to hospitals for Covid-19 treatment. Volunteers at the control room who include members of NGOs are facing enormous challenges.

On Wednesday, Anusuya Kale Chhabrani, president of Swacch Association, Nagpur – which is now part of #togetherwecan, an umbrella body of 150 Nagpur-based NGOs helping the civic body – was busy answering numerous calls not just from patients worried about Covid, but also others. Four patients were turned away from admission at the government hospitals as the Covid-19 tests turned negative.

One of the patients had a broken wrist that needed instant surgery, another was facing complications of the lung and a third needed dialysis. The patient with the broken wrist was pleading with doctors, but the government hospitals are focussed only on Covid patients, so he has to wait for a few more days. “There is a massive dearth of staff in the hospitals,” bemoans Chhabrani. “Many doctors, nurses and other staff members are also turning Covid positive, so there are enormous problems at the hospitals.”

The patient with the broken wrist is in his late 30s and cannot afford to go to private clinics or hospitals. With the two major government hospitals in Nagpur not able to treat him, he is in a desperate situation now, she says.

Tukaram Mundhe, the Nagpur Municipal Commissioner, now working from home as he has been tested positive for the Covid-19.

Another major challenge that the hospitals face is many of the Covid-positive patients are turning up late for treatment, some even on the eighth or ninth day of the infection. “All of them need ventilators and have to be kept in ICUs, but they are all full,” says Chhabrani. “Many of these critical patients turn up very late at the hospitals.”

The past few days have seen a surge in Covid deaths in Nagpur and the surrounding areas. On Tuesday, 46 Covid deaths were reported in the city and six elsewhere in the district. More than a thousand positive cases have been reported in Nagpur, adding to the immense pressures on the hospitals. Total Covid deaths in Vidarbha, which includes 11 districts, has climbed to 1,300.

It is also increasingly impacting the police force and the administration as well. About 220 policemen and 170 of their family members have tested positive for Covid. On Tuesday, two policemen succumbed to the disease. Additional Commissioner of Police Nilesh Bharne too has tested positive. Even Tukaram Mundhe, the Nagpur Municipal Commissioner has tested positive for Covid-19. “I am Working from Home to control #pandemic situation in Nagpur,” he tweeted. “We shall win”

Chhabrani says that most of the 1,000 patients being admitted daily for Covid-19 treatment are in the above-50 age category. But sadly, despite the massive increase in Covid, many Nagpur residents refuse to wear masks and continue to move around in public and drive vehicles on congested roads, not maintaining social distance or following the guidelines. And increasingly, the bodies of many of the victims remain in hospitals as relatives are reluctant to take them for cremation or burial, she adds.

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