Shortage of ICU beds for Non-COVID-19 patients in Mumbai

Mumbai, ICU beds
A look of ICU ward in Mumbai
Mumbai, ICU beds
A look of ICU ward in Mumbai

A 42 year-old person with severe breathlessness, diahrroea and failing kidney function had to wait for around 30 hours to get an Intensive care unit bed with dialysis facility. His condition became very critical by the time he got it at the SL Raheja Hospital in Mahim.

The family of the patient faced other set of problems after this as no person was ready to carry him in an ambulance as he was exposed to the SARS COV-2 virus.“One driver eventually agreed but he said that we cannot use the bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine [for intensive breathing assistance] from his ambulance. So, we took the risk and shifted him merely on oxygen support,” said the patient’s brother.

Around 40 days after the SARS-CoV-2 hit Mumbai, the city’s health infrastructure is crumbling in to pieces with persons suffering from other diseases scampering for beds. The city has 1,900 isolation beds and nearly 200 ICU beds at the moment.

The city reported its first positive case on March 11. On Thursday, the total number of cases had gone up to 2,073, and the death toll in the city to 117.

In another case similar to this, a 49-year-old man from Agripada who was admitted to the Kasturba Hospital died on Wednesday night waiting for a better facility. “We tried at least five hospitals, including Seven Hills and Saifee, but none had any vacant ICU beds,” said Samajwadi Party legislator Rais Shaikh who was helping the family. The patient’s condition had been deteriorating for three days.

All of these incidents are giving us a reality check about the medical infrastructure of the country. It is not tuning well with the claim of Prime Minister Narendra Modi about enough ICU beds in the country.



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