Family members of COVID patient complain about 'shortage' of hospital beds in Lucknow

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Lucknow, Apr 17 (PTI) A shortage of hospital beds in Lucknow seems to have kept a 65-year-old COVID-19 patient waiting for proper treatment.

The family members of the woman claimed that she could not be admitted to a hospital as no beds were available in the capital city of Uttar Pradesh.

'My grandmother cannot be admitted as there is no bed in any hospital in Lucknow. Despite calling the helpline number, there is no concrete response. The oxygen level, which was 66, has now dropped to near 40. It is an alarming sign,' the grandson of the woman said.

He said another of his relatives has an oxygen level of 65, but her treatment could not be started as the RT-PCR report is awaited.

A few days ago, there was a shortage of oxygen cylinder supply in a city hospital. According to sources in the hospital, the daily requirement of oxygen cylinders is around 60, but only 20 were supplied. 'However, as the issue figured in the social media and pressure was exerted on the supplier, the situation improved,' he said.

Highlighting the concern, Dr AK Singh, director of the Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Science here, said, 'At present, we need 300 oxygen cylinders a day. At a time, 45 cylinders are in use, with most of those being used with ventilator units. The point of concern is that we have 150 empty cylinders and we have flagged it with the state government.' Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh could not be reached for comments.

Commenting on the situation, communications professional Nishant Saxena said, 'As the RT-PCR report is now inconclusive and negative in even severely symptomatic cases, preventing people from accessing the COVID hospitals, it is time for the officials to think about allowing antigen or some other screening report to be accepted for the hospital admissions of severely-ill people.' Allowing patients with severely low oxygen levels, breathing difficulties and fever to be admitted will cause a surge in hospital admissions initially, but should reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in the following days, he said.

On April 13, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav had accused the Yogi Adityanath government of spreading false propaganda on controlling the coronavirus, saying there is a 'shortage' of beds and vaccines in Uttar Pradesh and the state is facing a crisis.

'There is a crisis in Uttar Pradesh caused by the coronavirus. The BJP government has to answer why it indulged in false propaganda on controlling the virus. There is a shortage of vaccines, tests, doctors, beds and ambulances. There is a delay in test reports and black-marketing of medicines. Why is the BJP government silent on this?' the former chief minister had asked in a tweet in Hindi.

Meanwhile, in a letter that has surfaced on the social media, Uttar Pradesh Law Minister Brajesh Pathak has purportedly lashed out at the state's health authorities, complaining that the number of beds for coronavirus patients is falling short and ambulances are taking hours to arrive in Lucknow, which he said could face a lockdown again.

The letter, purportedly written by Pathak on the COVID situation in his constituency, also claimed that the recent death of Yogesh Praveen, a scholar, was due to the lack of an ambulance, though the Padma Shri awardee's family has denied making the charge.

When contacted, Pathak did not dismiss the existence of the letter, which also appears to challenge the Adityanath government's claim that it is on top of the fight against the coronavirus.

'I had written a confidential letter to the government,' he told PTI, refusing to elaborate further.

'The beds for COVID patients in hospitals should be increased, testing should be increased and enough testing kits should be made available,' the letter addressed to the additional chief secretary (medical and health) and the additional chief secretary (medical education) said on Monday.

If the COVID-related circumstances are not controlled soon, a lockdown will have to be clamped in Lucknow to curb the spread of the virus, it added. PTI NAV RC