Though the COVID wards and Intensive Care Units (ICU) remained restricted last year for visitor movement and attendants, the callous attitude of patients, attendants and hospital authorities make these areas look like any other ward with no restrictions. Even the ICUs are flooded with people, a visit by DT Next revealed.
“My brother is too old to take care of himself on his own in the hospital. There were no provisions of caregivers, “ said Selvaraj, attendant of a COVID-19 patient at Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital. Though security personnel guard entrances of the ICU, there is no restriction on the movement of visitors inside the wards, he added. At Stanley Medical College and Hospital, healthcare workers and even patients pass through the pathway to COVID-19 ward to go to the X-ray and CT scan units for non-corona patients. “The security personnel often argue with patients and their attendants. We are trying our best to ensure that non-COVID patients do not come in contact with COVID-19 patients,” said Dr P Balaji, dean of Stanley Medical College and Hospital. The separate block for COVID patients at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital has infected patients with oxygen cylinders attached even as they awaited hospitalisation. Restrictions on the movement of visitors and attendants for COVID-19 patients was not in place and anyone could enter the premises without being scanned, checked or tested.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said that the restrictions to COVID-19 wards in all government and private hospitals was necessary and the deans of hospitals will be instructed to ensure the same.
50% beds for +ve patients
As the cases continue to rise, the State Health Department has instructed private hospitals to allocate at least 50% of the total beds for COVID patients. The Director of Medical and Rural Health Services under the Clinical Establishments Act issued a notice instructing all private hospitals to allocate at least 50 per cent of the total beds exclusively for COVID-19 patients duly following the norms as prescribed.