Sunday, January 17, 2021
Politics

Hospitals resume regular services as COVID-19 daily tally dips

Hospitals resume regular services as COVID-19 daily tally dips
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No respite for healthcare personnel, say government doctors; non-COVID-19 elective surgeries are being performed now

Routine healthcare services are back to normal in government hospitals across the city.

After leading the COVID-19 patient management since March, these hospitals have been witnessing a gradual rise in the turnout of patients for regular services in the past three months. But, this has not affected the COVID-19 services.

Outpatient services and elective surgeries were stopped in a number of government hospitals when the pandemic was its peak. However, with the daily tally of fresh viral infections declining in the past few weeks, non-COVID services, especially elective procedures, were resumed, and are running full-fledged at present.

Out-patient turnout up

At the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), 7,000 people turn up at the outpatient departments (OPDs) every day on an average. Prior to COVID-19, this figure was 10,000 to 15,000. The hospital has around 1,500 to 1,800 in-patients.

“Now, all in-patient wards such as medicine, surgery, haematology, diabetology, rheumatology, orthopaedics, neurology and surgical gastroenterology are full. During the peak of the pandemic, we had 200 to 350 in-patients on an average. We are now performing nearly 50 elective surgeries a day and are preparing to resume organ transplant procedures,” E. Theranirajan, dean of RGGGH, said.

In fact, hospitals have reduced the number of healthcare professionals posted on COVID-19 duty. “At present, all our COVID-19 services are concentrated in a single block — Tower 3. The maximum number of COVID-19 in-patients that we saw was 1,083. Today, we have 54 positive patients and 123 persons with suspected symptoms of COVID-19. We have reduced the number of doctors on COVID-19 duty from 243 to 90 for a cycle of six days,” he said.

Procedures such as angioplasty and coronary artery bypass grafting resumed, while dialysis for both COVID-19 and regular patients continued, Dr. Theranirajan said.

Reduction in COVID-19 duty did not mean a breather for the personnel, a government doctor said. “The number of patients coming for non-COVID services has increased. The work has only shifted to the routine,” she said.

All emergency medical and surgical services continued throughout the COVID-19 period at the Government Stanley Medical College (SMC) Hospital. “With regard to non-COVID-19 OP services, the numbers gradually increased from September at 1,250 a day to 4,500 a day at present. The non-COVID in-patient strength increased from 750 a day to 1,200 a day,” P. Balaji, dean of SMC, said.

Elective surgeries were stopped in April, May and early June in a few speciality departments, they were being done in general surgery, orthopaedics and ENT sections based on the need although on a much lower scale. “As many patients were waiting for elective surgeries and most hospitals avoided them, we resumed in July itself. The number of elective surgeries done in all the specialities has been on the rise and has reached the pre-COVID levels,” he said.

At the SMC, COVID-19 OPD and wards continued to function from a single block with separate entrance and exit.

Along with COVID-19, the Government Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) Hospital has been running regular services simultaneously as it caters to deliveries, treatment of burns and paediatric cases. As per data available with the hospital, 2,100 deliveries were recorded in October, November and December while 4,959 major and minor surgeries were performed on COVID-19 and other patients during the same period.

“Prior to COVID-19, our OPD census was 3,500 to 4,500. Now, we are getting 2,500 to 3,000 outpatients. Our non-COVID in-patient strength is about 350 to 400. In fact, our bed occupancy has been 85% throughout as we have been getting many patients for deliveries, paediatric treatment and emergency,” P. Vasanthamani, dean of KMC, said.

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