Not a Covid-19 patient? No admission even if you are critically ill

COVID-19 Health

Private hospitals in Trichy refuse to admit patients with sicknesses other than Covid-19, leaving them to fend for themselves

By Adilin Beatrice C

Tiruchirapalli: Private hospitals in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, are not admitting patients with ailments other than Covid-19, causing them grave distress. Some hospitals that are still admitting non-Covid patients are reportedly asking their relatives to sign a form to confirm that they are aware of the risks.

Arokia Raj SM’s sister, in her late 60s, developed high blood pressure a week ago. “We took her to a private hospital, where they checked her and advised her to take a few medicines. I wanted to admit her in the hospital as she felt weak. But the hospital denied and said they had Covid-19 patients admitted there. So we decided to take her to Tanjore, where one of my friends works in a private hospital, the next day. But she passed away before that,” he said. 

Mehrunisha Begum was asked to sign a form while admitting her mother-in-law at a private hospital. “My mother-in-law had a sudden rise in blood sugar level. We admitted her in a private hospital. While admitting, the hospital administration asked us to sign a form which stated that the patient was being admitted at her own risk. If the patient contracts coronavirus, the hospital administration won’t take responsibility,” she shared.

Mehrunisha had no other choice. “I signed the form and asked the doctor to be more careful. It is better to at least get treated somewhere rather than being left helpless.”

Ethina Vincent, who was admitted to a private hospital for surgery, was asked to go home and return after the lockdown. “The doctor who treated me said it was not safe to stay in a hospital now. She also said the surgery can be postponed and it won’t cause health issues.”

The doctor told Ethina this after the hospital admitted two patients who had a severe cough.

The Tamil Nadu government recently asked private hospitals to admit Covid-19 patients if they have facilities to handle it. They refuse to admit patients with other conditions.

Nithya (name changed), a member of the management team in a private hospital in Tennur, agreed that the hospital tries to not admit anyone since the Covid-19 breakout became severe. “Our hospital doesn’t have any Covid-19 patients, but still suspected cases come here and we redirect them to the government hospital. Doctors in the hospital advise patients not to come unless it is very severe, as the suspected cases could carry Covid-19 and might end up spreading the disease to other patients,” she shared. 

Krishnan (name changed), an official of a private hospital, acknowledged that the hospital admits only emergency cases like accidents and heart attacks. “We don’t want to take the risk. We have kept two Covid-19 patients in the isolation ward. The management doesn’t want to take any risk. So we prefer to turn down patients who come to see occupational therapy doctors,” he said.  

Dr S Karunya, an assistant surgeon and medical officer in Viralimalai, said most private hospitals don’t have proper isolation wards which are accessible from separate entrances, independent air ducts along with adequate ventilators and oxygen supply.

“The bigger challenge lies in providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff in private hospitals and keeping them in isolation for two weeks. So the private hospitals don’t want to increase the risk of Covid-19 spread by admitting other patients,” she said. 

A non-mandatory advisory by Tamil Nadu government says all private clinics should set up isolation wards to treat coronavirus patients. It also states that doctors, nurses and paramedics posted to the isolation facilities should not be asked to work in other patient-care areas.


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