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April 7, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Karachi: Private hospitals wary they would be swamped

National

 
April 7, 2020

KARACHI: The Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah has invited private hospitals of the city on Tuesday (today) to discuss the provincial government’s proposal of allocating at least 10 per cent of their respective hospitals capacity in wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Reacting to the Sindh government’s proposal, many of the Karachi hospitals ranging from small to moderate and big ones fear they might be soon swamped by coronavirus cases, putting their hospitals’ installed capacity and that of the doctors and paramedics under severe strain. They cited the example of the top tertiary care hospital of the city that had to stop taking the Covid-19 cases, after some of its doctors and paramedics were infected by the virulent disease and its labs ran out of capacity to do evergrowing number of tests. They are now trying to relocate the Covid ward and ICUs at one of their branches in the F B Area.

A senior doctor who runs a private hospital said most of the private hospitals do not have a dedicated four-tier capacity to manage the covid-19 cases.

In order to insulate the coronavirus victims from the aggressive infection, the hospitals require a dedicated screening area to scan the patients separating coronavirus victims from the other patients. From the screening area, they have to be shifted to two- type of isolation centres, one that is dedicated to managing the Covid-19 positive cases and the other for the suspected ones. They also require separate ICU wards with varying capacity to manage the critical coronavirus cases as the normal ICU for other critical cases cannot share the space for fear of making them critically ill.

Concurring with the point of view, another doctor said there are smaller hospitals with just one lift and any Covid-19 case there would infect the whole hospital. He said while we want to fully help the government and the society but none is possible without realizing that we have a limited capacity. “The pandemic would soon overwhelm whatever little capacity we have.”

He said it is also imperative that the government provides the testing kits, their important components like the reagents and swabs and PPEs for doctors and the paramedics or else they can fall sick as it being reported almost every day, bringing the entire hospital down. This would hurt the entire scheme of things even if they go on strikes demanding protection equipment.

Another doctor raised the issue of separate ICUs for the confirmed coronavirus cases. He said the critical cases require ventilator machines and in case if someone needs that for three weeks, the financial cost goes high.

The government has to also consider this aspect and must give financial support to sustain hundreds of expected ventilator operations. He said it would be a better idea to direct all the ICU coronavirus cases to Expo Centre where a big ICU could be raised to avoid strain on the hospitals.