New Delhi: The panic created by dengue, chickungunya and other vector-borne diseases have not just crowded the government hospitals, but have also led to an influx of passengers at private hospitals in the city.

At the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in Sarita Vihar, 80 per cent of the patients arriving in the emergency ward are suspected to having chickungunya and dengue. “There is a paucity of beds in the emergency ward. Only serious cases are being allotted beds here. Patients have to wait for eight hours to get beds,” said a senior doctor at Apollo Hospital.


“I came at 9 am today. My platelet count is really low but the staff here wants to conduct another check before they admit me. My entire body is paining, I don’t know when I will be admitted here,” said Rehan Azim (29) who has been running high fever for the past three days.

A number of patients being treated at mohalla clinics and nursing homes are also opting to come to private hospitals in search of better healthcare and treatment. Sunil Verma (32), who was diagnosed with chickungunya, shifted to Apollo on Tuesday. “I was at a nursing home in east Delhi, but the nursing there wasn’t good so I shifted to Apollo. But the expense here is too much,” said Verma.

Hospital authorities though are exploiting patients in their hour of need. “Even though there were beds vacant in the general ward, they kept my husband in a private suite because they wanted to extract more money from us,” said Arwa Nagraj, whose husband is recuperating from dengue at Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre in Tughlakabad.

“There’s a huge panic among patients here. Even those who have 99 degree fever have come to the hospital and want us to admit them. How will we cope with so many patients? Not just with beds, we are also short-staffed in terms of nurses and ward boys,” said Dr. Yogendra Tomar, Deputy Medical Superintendent at Batra Hospital.

“We do tests on the patients and administer them with conservative treatment and medicines and ask them to rest at their homes. We admit only those patients who have low platelet count,” added Tomar.

The emergency ward in almost all private hospitals are brimming with patients and doctors at Max Super Speciality Hospital in Saket have tripled their beds. “There is a huge paucity of beds, so we have added extra beds in the general wards. Earlier, a general ward had 6 beds, but now the number has gone up to 14 in every ward,” said Dr. Akshay Jhingal, a senior doctor at Max Hospital.

“I was having severe body pain for the last few days, so I decided to come here to do a check-up. I’ve come to know that I am suffering from chickungunya and have been told to be admitted here. But I don’t have money to get treatment here, so I am contemplating what to do now,” said Mohammad Nihal (46), who stays at Hauz Khas.

We are doing a complete blood count (CBC) of every patient who have symptoms of vector-borne diseases. Only those whose platelet counts are less than 50,000 are being identified as serious cases,” added Tomar.

This article first appeared in The Times of India, Delhi Edition issue dated 01.09.2016



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