KATHMANDU, April 23: The major hospitals in the Kathmandu valley have become beds and ICUs for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. As they are already full of their bed capacity, the hospitals have stated that they are forced to refer them elsewhere in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP).
Dr Bimal Pandey, coordinator of COVID-19 treatment at Patan Hospital, said that the patients had to be referred to elsewhere after the beds allocated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients were full. A total of 190 general and 21 ICU beds have been set aside for the treatment of COVID-19 patients at Patan Hospital. “All the beds have been packed for the past three days. We have referred the patients to other hospitals by calling the ministry,” said Dr Pandey.
Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital has also stated that the number of beds allocated for COVID-19 patients are full. Dr Anup Bastola, spokesperson at the hospital said that the beds in ICU and even in general wards have been full for the last three to four days now.
He said that patients in need of oxygen were given priority and those with fever were given medicine and sent to home isolation. The hospital has 54 beds including 20 ICUs for COVID-19 treatment. He said that those with normal symptoms were referred to the Ayurveda Treatment Center Isolation Center after the flow of patients increased.
Similarly, Bir Hospital has also stated that the beds set aside for the treatment of COVID-19 patients have started filling up. At Bir Hospital, 10 ICUs and 62 beds in the general ward have been allocated for treatment. The hospital is preparing to add more after all the beds are filled, said Dr Achyut Karki of the hospital.
The Tribhuvan Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj has been full of COVID-19 patients for the past three or four days. Sabin Thapaliya, a liaison doctor at the hospital, said that the patients are being sent to other places in coordination with the Ministry of Health after the COVID-19 ward became full.
The hospital has 60 beds including 11 ICUs for COVID-19 treatment. Thapaliya informed that preparations are being made to add more beds as the number of patients continues to increase. According to the doctor, patients may not be able to get a normal bed due to the acute infection.
Health experts have pointed out the negligence of people, carrying out chores without following public health protocols have contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19. Dr Karki informed that even if the government expands the number of beds for treatment, there is a challenge in manpower management.
"Only beds are not enough, manpower for treatment should be prepared as well, which doesn't seem possible," he said. Doctors have suggested that the government should impose lockdown for at least two weeks to break the chain of infection. "Control will not be possible if we do not impose lockdown for at least two weeks now," said Dr Pandey, COVID-19 treatment coordinator at the Patan Institute of Health Sciences.
Dr Thapaliya suggested that services other than essential ones need to be discontinued for a certain period to control acute infections. “As the transmission of the virus matches with what is happening in India, it is necessary to take strict measures to control it,” he said. However, he said that the government should inform the people a few days before the lockdown.
Dr Bastola of Shukraraj Tropical Hospital advises not to go out of the house except for urgent work to avoid infection. “If the number of infected people increases, there is a possibility of death even if they get a bed in hospital. Instead, they should strictly follow the public health standards,” he urged.
The Ministry of Health has stated that it has become hard to manage the patients after the major COVID-19 hospitals in the capital were filled. Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari, joint spokesperson of the Ministry, said that the situation is getting serious as the public has not been able to fully comply with the public health standards set by the government. “The situation is serious. It is difficult if public health standards are not followed,” he said, suggesting the need to impose lockdown in the country.