Yunus Y. Lasania
Hyderabad: At a time when the state government is expected to ramp up medical and health services, the opposite seems to be happening. Apart from the horrid water-logging in wards of OGH, doctors working at the state-run healthcare centre claim that many people admitted at coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation wards are dying, with the deaths not being accounted for.
“Every fever, cough and cold patient right now is a suspected COVID-19 patient and they are being kept in the isolation ward until their tests are back. If the patients there test negative then they are taken for treatment, but if they test positive for COVID-19 then they are sent to Gandhi hospital. However, many people are dying in the isolation wards itself,”said a surgeon working at OGH.
The surgeon, who did not want to be identified, also stated that unaccounted deaths take place even before the COVID-19 tests of the patients arrive. “The number of COVID-19 death being reported officially by the state government is far lesser than what is actually true,” the doctor added.
The shocking claim however is not the only gripe that doctors have. Another doctor at OGH, who also did not want to be quoted, said that there is a shortage of oxygen cylinders. “There is no oxygen supply because of which the emergency operation theatre has been shut for the last four days. It is being diverted to the in-patient section,” he told siasat.com
The second doctor quoted in this report added that last night (Wednesday) there were four emergency cases, but due to lack of oxygen supply, the critical patients had to be shifted to the in-patient theatre in the old building. “That too on the second floor. The hospital is on the verge of shutting down. There is no point of running a hospital in such a situation,” he lamented.
When contacted, an official from the state Health department refuted the claim of OGH doctors that COVID-19 deaths are being underreported. “When someone dies, the family has to be informed and the police officials also check all details. Whether the deceased was positive or negative for COVID-19, there is no question of hiding it,” he stated.
Water seeps into general wards
Moreover, adding to those issues during the ongoing pandemic is rain water entering the ground-floor wards of OGH. Images and videos from the wards of the same have been met with shock and disgust by citizens, who took to social media to blast the state government and concerned authorities. Videos of heavy water-logged OGH wards have been circulating on Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram since Wednesday.
“Risking the lives of patients, doctors, nurses and staff in one shot.
Osmania General Hospital is in mess for the past 5 years despite the concerns being regularly by the officials of the OGH. Ministers Health and MAUD along with the Principal Secretaries should tender their resignations for the apathy,” Seshagiri B V, city-based activist and member of Swaraj Abhiyan, wrote on Twitter.
The two doctors quoted in this report however said that water-logging in OGH is an old problem, but that this time it was worse. “It was almost about one-feet in height this time on Wednesday. The issue is that patients might contract new infections,” one of them said.
The state government officials from the Health Department said that a Nala from Begum Bazar, which passes through OGH, was the cause of the water-logging. “It may have been blocked which is why this has happened,” he added.
On Wednesday, Telangana reported 1597 new COVID-19 cases, of which 796 were reported from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area, with Ranga Reddy and Medchal districts following closely with 212 and 115 cases. So far, a total of 39,342 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Telangana, of which 12,958 are still active. Of the total cases, 386 others died due to the virus.
The writer is a Hyderabad-based journalist, who has previously worked for The New Indian Express, The Hindu and Mint.