R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, May 5 - The Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) is limping back to normalcy after it has been reopened for general patients and the pressure on the hospital increased as the private hospitals are not willing to take any chance and some such hospitals are referring patients with cold and cough to the GMCH as they do not have the facility to test COVID-19.
GMCH sources told The Assam Tribune that though the hospital has been reopened for general patients, special isolation ward for suspected COVID-19 patients has been kept, while, a special Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for such patients has also been maintained.
Sources said that the GMCH now has 2294 beds including the ICU beds and around 1499 patients were admitted in the hospital till yesterday. Sources said that recently a new 54 bed new ICU block was inaugurated in the hospital, while, a 46 bed special ICU for COVID 19 patients is also in operation.
The GMCH was closed for general patients from March 29 to April 24 as it was designated as a COVID-19 hospital. But the hospital has been reopened for general public on April 25 and up to yesterday more than 5600 general patients visited the hospital. Of course, the flow of patients picked up since yesterday when the lockdown was eased.
Sources revealed that in normal times, around 10,000 patients and attendants visit the GMCH every day. In 2018, on an average day, around 2600 patients used to visit the hospital, while, the number increased to 2780 in 2019.
Most of the patients are accompanied by a number of attendants, while, a number of attendants of admitted patients also visited the hospital. But now the visit to the hospital by the attendants has been restricted and only one attendant with each patient is allowed.
GMCH sources said that all those visiting the hospital are now screened by a team of doctors and other staff and if any patient is suffering from high fever and have any other symptom of COVID-19, he or she is admitted to the isolation ward and tests are carried out. Interestingly with the state under lockdown, the number of accident cases received by the hospital came down drastically. With the State put under night curfew, doctors are of the opinion that the accident cases will remain low in the days to come though the lockdown norms have been eased.
GMCH sources said that a new phenomenon has added to the pressure on the hospital as the private hospitals send patients having cold and cough to the GMCH. The private hospitals do not have the facility to carry out COVID-19 tests and without taking any chance, they send all such patients to the GMCH, sources added.