Patients lying down on the verandah and their relatives restlessly running from pillar to post are the common sight at the Government General Hospital here, as COVID-19 cases increased exponentially this fortnight.
The second wave of Coronvirus has pushed more and more COVID-19 patients, including children, gasping for breath following respiratory tract infection and lying on hospital pavements waiting for allotment of oxygen beds.
Scores of them with low oxygen level had arranged their own oxygen cylinders and anxiously wait for allotment of beds at any given point of time at the hospital with a bed strength of 1,100 for COVID patients.
Srinivasa Rao, a middle-aged patient from Martur, was in no mood to return home, and take treatment from there. “I fear that oxygen level may go down further if I go back home,” he said lying down on the verandah close to the help desk set up at the hospital.
Hundreds of patients wait for allotment of oxygen bed at the hospital at any given point of time with only 685 oxygen beds. All efforts by those manning the help desk asking the patients to go to private hospitals were in vain. The patients mostly from below poverty line hang around at the hospital reluctant to go to 10 notified private hospitals fearing that they might be overcharged.
The GGH authorities have arranged oxygen cylinders on a temporary basis at the 300-plus general beds to meet the rush of patients, hospital sources said.
Relatives of the patients who have been impatiently waiting at the reception centre urged the government to arrange piped oxygen supply at all the beds and creating oxygen bed facility on a temporary basis to treat at least 5,000 patients at the GGH as at least 500 patients contract the disease each day and they might require hospitalisation for at least a month or so.
“During the first wave of Coronavirus, most of the patients were elderly and required treatment at the intensive care units. But now a majority of the patients suffer from shortness of breath and require oxygen support,” Prakasam District Medical and Health Officer P. Ratnavalli told The Hindu.
Seven more private hospitals were renotified to enhance the available number of beds to 2,500 in the district on Saturday, she said. Ten COVID-19 Care Centres across the district were set up to treat 3,000 critical cases, she said, adding that there was no shortage in oxygen supply as such in the district.
As many as 7,000 persons were vaccinated on Saturday in the district, including 4,000 who had already taken the first dose of vaccine.