On Saturday afternoon, Farzana Sayyed waited anxiously outside the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) the civic- run Nair hospital in Mumbai Central where seven-month- old daughter admitted since a week. The child’s condition remains critical and Sayyed blames delay in treatment while ran from pillar to post to her baby admitted.
The child was first undergoing treatment for fever in Andheri’s Seven Hills hospital. When she developed a cough and cold, doctors asked Sayyed to shift her child to another hospital. “I took her to three civic hospitals - Bhabha, KEM and Wadia - but was told that there were no ICU beds available,” said Sayyed. It took her almost a week before a bed was found in the PICU ( Paediatric ICU) of Nair hospital. However, by then she had developed double pneumonia and will now require close monitoring.
Sayyed’s is not the only such case. Across Mumbai, there is a dearth of ICU beds, with most private and civic hospitals admitting that 90-95 per cent of their ICU, PICU and NICU ( Neonatal ICU) seats are full. Take for instance, the case of a 77-year-old Chembur resident who was diagnosed with blood clots in his brain and needed an ICU bed. He could not be admitted in the ICU at Mahim’s Hinduja hospital or Lilavati hospital in Bandra, and was finally admitted at Chembur’s Sai hospital where he is currently undergoing treatment.
ICU units packed to capacity
The civic-run Sion Hospital, which has the city’s only trauma centre, has a total of 137 ICU beds. Dr Avinash Supe, dean, said all the beds are occupied as of now. Parel’s Nowrosjee Wadia maternity hospital has 60 beds in the NICU and 12 beds in the PICU. All of them are full, said Dr Mini Bodhanwalla, CEO of the hospital. “ We have added more beds in the NICU and PICU wards because of the number of babies who are in need of baby warmers and ventilators,” she said. KEM, which has the highest number of ICU beds in the city, (over 180), too, is filled to capacity.
Mumbai Central’s Nair hospital, which has only 23 ICUs, also does not have a vacant bed. Dr S Das, deputy dean of the hospital, said, “ We have 65 ventilators in various departments of the hospital and all of them are currently in use.”
Not far away, the state- run JJ Hospital’s 87 ICU beds are all occupied. The hospital’s NICU and PICU share seven ventilators, which doctors admit fall short of the current requirement. Dr Ashok Rathod, head of the paediatrics department, said, “ There are 20 beds available in the NICU but those are only for the babies born in the hospital. We are in the process of getting 14 more ventilators to deal with the patient load in the paediatrics department.”
At Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital in Andheri, most of the 181 ICU beds are occupied. Of these, 139 beds are for adults and 42 for paediatric beds, said Dr Ram Narain, medical director of the hospital. Mahim’s Raheja Fortis however, has all its 19 ICU beds full. “ We also have six extendable beds on the ground floor which can double up as ICU beds,” said Dr Sanjeeth Saseedharan, head intensivist at the hospital.
Even the more exclusive Jaslok hospital on Peddar Road has 40 of its 45 ICU beds full. Dr Tarang Gianchandani, acting CEO of the hospital, said, “We try to keep three beds aside for emergency cases. However, we have had to cancel some surgeries in the hospital recently due to lack of availability of ICU beds.” In Fortis Mulund, too, 90 per cent of the 80 ICU beds are occupied.
The Lilavati Hospital in Bandra also has all its 80 ICU beds full. It’s the same story in the privately- run Hinduja Hospital in Mahim where 41 of the 43 ICU beds are occupied at present.
Hospitals surveyed: 11
ICU beds: 950+
Vacant as on Saturday: <50
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