COVID-19: BMC gears up to improve care for critical patients

Updated: 12 September, 2020 07:38 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

It will soon start an ICU at the jumbo facility at the NESCO Centre in Goregaon; also in talks to get senior doctors from top hospitals to help with treatment of such patients

The facility at NESCO Centre that has so far treated over 4,500 patients and only one has died. File pic/Satej Shinde
The facility at NESCO Centre that has so far treated over 4,500 patients and only one has died. File pic/Satej Shinde

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is strengthening the jumbo facility at NESCO centre in Goregaon to treat critical patients, but is short on manpower and specialised equipment as well. To tackle the issue, they have appointed 23 private doctors for the ICU which will probably start this week and are also trying to procure some high-end ventilators. In a bid to encourage the public to opt for civic-run COVID-19 facilities, they are also trying to tie up with intensivists and pulmonologists from top private hospitals to help with the treatment of critical patients at the jumbo centres.

Preparations to start ICU

Last week, the civic body had added 270 ICU beds to the jumbo centres, and the bulk of them (200 beds) was allocated to the NESCO centre in Goregaon. Dr Neelam Andrade, dean of the jumbo facility at NESCO, said that they will first start with 50 ICU beds. "We appointed 23 private doctors - on a two-month contract - with experience of working in intensive care ranging from six months to 22 years to attend to critical patients. We are starting with 50 beds to see how things go," she said.

Apart from doctors from the private sector, 21 doctors from civic hospitals like Nair, KEM and Cooper have been appointed. Data entry operators to maintain patient information electronically have also been appointed. For the ICU unit alone, apart from the doctors, there are 48 nurses, 40-45 ward boys and 10 cleaners at NESCO.

The civic body has been focussing on bringing down the number of COVID-related deaths as well as building the confidence of people to encourage them to opt for admission in jumbo facilities. Apart from equipment like biPAP machines and high-flow nasal cannulas, Dr Andrade said that they are also trying to source some high-end ventilators. "We have 77 ventilators and 53 bi-PAP machines. However, in severe cases, patients requiring intubation are transferred to KEM or Nair Hospital. We are trying to procure 4-5 Draeger ventilators through CSR funds, to provide high pressure oxygen in cases of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome," she said, adding that patients will then no longer have to be transferred to hospitals. At NESCO, more than 4,500 patients have been treated so far and one patient has died.

Urging to opt for jumbo facility

The staff managing the COVID war room have been asked to urge patients to opt for admission in a jumbo facility, as most people prefer a private hospital since they feel the quality of care is better there. In order to build confidence among people and improve care for critical patients, the BMC has decided to tie up with senior doctors from private hospitals to guide the staff at the jumbo facilities.

While the discussions are still underway, Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said, "Tentatively, for the centres in Dahisar and Goregaon, Kokilaben Hospital is being considered, Lilavati or Hinduja Hospital for the MMRDA centre, and Breach Candy or Jaslok Hospital for NSCI Dome. The hospitals will be linked with the jumbo facilities. There will be consultation in case of urgency to seek advice of doctors on treatment protocols for critical patients to reduce mortality rates and days of hospitalisation."

Dr V Ravishankar, CEO of Lilavati Hospital, said that an advisory panel of consultants from private hospitals closest to the jumbo facilities is being compiled, and some private hospitals have been asked to submit names of four experts each. "We have suggested that the consultants need not visit the centres to see the patients. If the doctors at the jumbo centres have a problem, then we can have a video consultation with our doctors to guide them. We have given names of four intensivists and pulmonologists from Lilavati Hospital," he said. He added that based on the discussions so far, there should be no compulsion for the private hospitals to admit a patient if their condition deteriorates.

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First Published: 12 September, 2020 07:37 IST

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