Patients lying on the porch and their relatives running restlessly from the pillar to the post office are common here at Government General Hospital, as COVID-19 cases increased exponentially over these fortnight.
The second wave of coronvirus has led more and more COVID-19 patients, including children, to gasp after a respiratory infection and lie on hospital plasters waiting for oxygen beds to be allocated.
Numerous of them with low oxygen levels had their own oxygen cylinders set up and eagerly awaited the allocation of beds at some point in the hospital with a bed size of 1,100 for COVID patients.
Srinivasa Rao, a middle-aged patient from Martur, was in no mood to return home for treatment. “I’m afraid the oxygen levels may drop further when I go home,” he said, lying down on the porch near the hospital’s help desk.
Hundreds of patients are waiting for the hospital oxygen bed to be allocated at any given time with only 685 oxygen beds. All the efforts of those who manned the help desk and asked patients to go to private hospitals were in vain. The patients, who mostly come from below the poverty line, remain in the hospital and are reluctant to go to 10 registered private hospitals because they fear being overwhelmed.
The GGH authorities have temporarily installed oxygen bottles in the more than 300 general beds to cope with the onslaught of patients.
Relatives of the patients who were impatiently waiting in the reception center urged the government to regulate the oxygenation of all beds and temporarily set up an oxygen bed facility to treat at least 5,000 patients in the GGH as at least 500 patients suffer from the GGH disease every day and they may need to be hospitalized for at least a month or so.
“During the first wave of the coronavirus, most patients were older and had to be treated in intensive care units. But now the majority of patients are short of breath and need oxygen assistance, ”said Fr. Ratnavalli, Prakasam District Medical and Health Officer The Hindu.
Seven other private hospitals were renamed on Saturday to bring the number of available beds in the district to 2,500. Ten COVID-19 care centers across the district have been set up to handle 3,000 critical cases, she said, adding that there is no shortage of oxygen as such in the district.
Up to 7,000 people were vaccinated in the district on Saturday, including 4,000 who had already taken the first dose of vaccine.