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India has set daily records for positive coronavirus tests – more than 400,000 people on Wednesday alone.
In New Delhi, Holy Family Hospital has 140% capacity.
“It’s almost impossible to walk in sometimes [emergency room], “said Dr. Sumit Ray, the hospital’s head of critical care.” Sometimes we have to keep the patient in the ER for hours, a day or two, because we do not have a bed in the wards or in [intensive care unit]. “
“Many of the public areas, sometimes, etc., have been cut off right next to my office behind a wall,” he said in an interview with NPRs. Morning edition. “There are about 30 patients in a common area that was formerly an outpatient department. We have also used these rooms and put beds there, monitors there, oxygen bottles there.”
“The individual hospitals are standing up and doing the best they could. But as a system in different parts of the country, we have collapsed,” he said.
Below, the highlights of the interview are edited for length and clarity.
At his hospital lack of fans and ICU beds
Our staff is stretched. They work more hours, work harder, longer. … We need more ventilators, because since the timeline for COVID is such that when the peak number of cases occurs about two to three weeks down the line, a certain percentage of these patients get sicker and end up in the ICU. And that’s what we’re seeing right now. And the number of deaths is rising now. And what we now have a problem with is that we have many patients who need ICU beds, but we do not have ICU beds for them. So we manage them in units with high dependence, on wards, etc. Of course, the quality of care is not the same because the level of monitoring, etc. can not be controlled as it is necessary in the ICU.
So those are the problems we are facing now. We kind of predicted that a few weeks back because we know the timeline of how COVID behaves. And we had tried to tell the government that an overvoltage capacity needs to be built so that patients who need this may need to be relocated. And it can not be organized by a single hospital. It must be built by the government. It’s starting to happen, but it’s not over yet.
About how hospital staff are concerned about the impact of COVID on their own families, even when treating patients
While we take care of the patients in the hospital, we talk to the family and tell them what to do at home when they are down with COVID. And if they get worse, where are they going? So, in fact, the situation has reached such a point that many of our employees are afraid that even if their loved one becomes seriously ill with COVID, they will find a bed in our own hospital or any other hospital for that matter?
About how India incorrectly assessed the pandemic and what led to the hesitation of vaccination
We celebrated too early, too much breast pounding and said we had defeated the virus. I think we all underestimated the virus. But how we were proven wrong, we pay for it. … There was a vaccine hesitation, the reasons were that there was some degree of data transparency, if I may say if the vaccines used in India …. So the hesitation was partly expected, could have been done better in providing more transparent data.
At ER is far above capacity
Our ER is beyond [capacity]. It had 30 beds, and we have about 100 odd patients at any given time, and there are patients sitting in chairs who get oxygen because we do not refuse. It is almost impossible to walk in ER sometimes. … sometimes we have to keep the patient in the ER for hours, a day or two, because we do not have a bed in the wards or in the ICU.
About the collapse of India’s health system
We have collapsed in a way. I mean, some hospitals stand up and do the best they could. But as a system in different parts of the country, we have collapsed. I mean, what would you say if people start dying in ambulances because they can not get in a hospital bed, if people die at home, if people die in the ER because there is no bed in the wards or at the ICU. So it’s a breakdown of the system. There are so many more deaths that could have been prevented.
Ziad Buchh, Lisa Weiner and Scott Saloway produced and edited the audio version of this story. Avie Schneider produced for the Internet.