LAHORE: The Covid-19 pandemic may lead to a surge in the number of critically-ill patients and shortage of ventilators in the intensive care units of teaching hospitals in Punjab in the coming weeks.
The medical and health experts say the situation is not as alarming as is being portrayed as around 30-40 per cent ventilators are occupied in Punjab.
According to the official figures, 1,296 ventilators were available at the state-run teaching hospitals of Punjab.Of them, 40 were non-functional.
The hospitals may become overburdened in the coming weeks as the province has witnessed 20 per cent surge in the number of patients coming with respiratory failure during home isolation due to the severity of the virus.
“Next seven days are very critical for us as the incubation period for Covid-19 after relaxation of lockdown on May 14 has almost come to an end,” says Mayo Hospital Chief Executive Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan. He is supervising and leading the healthcare arrangements for coronavirus patients in the state-run health facilities in Lahore.
Quoting a research from China, he said, patients take five days to two weeks to develop symptoms of the coronavirus.
“At present, we are not facing any disturbing situation in respect of availability of facilities for the treatment of critical patients of Covid-19,” he said.
However, hospitals are feeling an impact of Covid-19 pandemic as they have started receiving patients with severity of the disease or lungs failure.
“The home isolation has eased massive burden on the hospitals but for the medics, ICUs’ management would be the next area of concern due to expected influx of critically-ill Covid-19 patients,” Prof Aslam said.
The Mayo Hospital chief executive who is also member of the Corona Experts Advisory Group Punjab, shared fresh situation of critical and other patients of Covid-19 in Lahore’s all public and private hospitals.
He said 1,587 confirmed patients admitted to the government and private hospitals of Lahore had been discharged after recovering completely. Of them, 1,220 were discharged from state-run and 367 from private hospitals of the provincial capital, he said.
“Only 488 patients of the virus are under treatment at both private and government hospitals of Lahore,” he said. Of them, he said, 67 were in the ICUs of Lahore’s hospitals - 43 in the ICUs of private and 24 in the ICUs of state-run hospitals. Of them, 31 patients are on ventilators - 19 in government and 12 in private hospitals, said Prof Aslam.
“The statistics show the situation is not so much alarming. But it may aggravate in coming days as the hospitals are now receiving patients quarantined at their respective homes, he said.
“We have total 50 ventilators in ICU of Mayo Hospital and of them 30 per cent are occupied by the critical patients of Covid-19,” he said. The Punjab government had completed procurement of around 250 more ventilators for the treatment of critical patients of Covid-19, he said.
Twenty patients died of the virus during the last two days while 1,097 others tested positive. As many as 352 people have died of the virus in Punjab and they include 132 in the provincial capital. The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Punjab has crossed the 20,000 mark – 9,915 in Lahore, 1,698 in Rawalpindi, 1,399 in Multan, 1,239 in Gujranwala and 1,025 in Faisalabad.
Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2020