In Province 1, COVID-19 patients are dying at home as they wait for hospital beds

Published On: October 16, 2020 11:05 AM NPT By: Rohit Rai

DHARAN, Oct 16: The hospitals are overwhelmed and cases are increasing every day; new patients are deprived of proper care in hospitals, losing their battle with the coronavirus.

It has been more than seven months since the pandemic, but the government’s apathy towards upgrading COVID-19 hospitals has resulted in the loss of lives of many people.

A 58-year-old man from Dharan-9 was in isolation at home after testing positive some three days ago. After experiencing breathing difficulties, his kin called ward chairperson Ratna Katwal to arrange a bed at the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences. But the hospital was overwhelmed with patients, and a bed couldn’t be arranged for the patient. He died later.

In Dharan-16, a 60-year-old patient experienced breathing difficulties on Wednesday. The family tried arranging a bed in a hospital in Dharan, but they couldn’t. The patient succumbed to the infection later at night.

Likewise, another 68-year-old patient from Dharan-15 was in isolation at home after testing positive for coronavirus. The patient was taken to BPKIHS at 4PM after experiencing breathing difficulties. As a bed couldn’t be managed there, the patient was taken to Biratnagar. The patient later died at Koshi COVID-19 Center in Biratnagar.

According to Naresh Iwaram, ward chairperson of Dharan-15, the BPKIHS lacks necessary equipment, and doesn’t have enough manpower. “Even a normal bed is hard to manage for new patients,” he said.

As the cases spike, the number of patients staying in isolation at home in Dharan, Itahari, among other cities, in Province 1 is also on the rise. While managing beds for COVID-19 patients are near impossible, people are dying.

“The newly-installed ventilators are already defunct. Also, X-ray and ABG machines are not working,” a source at the hospital told Republica.

“Though BPKIHS is a level III hospital, it doesn’t have proper ventilators, beds, and the necessary equipment for patients,” added the source.

According to Tilak Rai, mayor of Dharan, the sub-metropolitan city has requested the hospital to increase the number of ICU and ventilator beds.  The hospital didn’t manage necessary equipment as per the request, he said.

In the midst of the crisis, the province government has shown apathy towards increasing the capacity of hospitals. According to Dr Pushpa Raj Poudel, information officer at the Ministry of Social Development, the budget has been allocated for COVID-19 hospitals. “The government has been working to combat the pandemic,” he claimed.


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