Gurgaon has more than 2 million people but the information about the treatment of Covid-19 is all confusing. It took me more than 2 hours of Google Search to find the list of 23 hospitals where one could get the treatment for Novel Corona Virus, but could not find this crucial list. The one list which is available has 19 hospitals – 3 Government and 16 private. If finding the names was so difficult, forget about any other information like the contact numbers or the cost of the treatment. Gurgaon currently has close to 2000 covid cases of which close to 500 have recovered which means that the city presently has 1500 active cases. The total number of beds earmarked in these 19 hospitals is less than 1000 and that is the reason that the administration has now allowed the asymptomatic positive patients to stay in isolation at their respective homes. People who are staying in 2-3 bedroom houses can afford to do that till the time they show symptoms like breathlessness. As per Dr Sanjeev Sharma, Senior Physician and Critical Care Specialist at Sethi Hospital, Gurgaon, ” Most of the patients infected with Covid-19 would not need any hospitalization. They just need to isolate themselves at home, keep recording their temperature and oxygen saturation called SpO2 levels. Till the time patient is not having any difficulty in breathing there is no need to scout for a bed. Also I always advise that the patient should get a HRCT Chest done which gives a better picture about the condition of your lungs. A RTPCR test gives whether you are infected or not whereas a HRCT Chest would show us how much the lungs are affected due to covid through CT severity index.”
If you have fever then take paracetamol for symptomatic treatment and there is no need to get admitted to a hospital until you have more severe symptoms like breathlessness. When you are staying at home, it is a good idea to keep checking the oxygen saturation levels in your blood every four hours. A small medical device called pulse oxymeter is used to do this. It is a device which is attached to your finger in a non-invasive manner and the display gives the value of the oxygen saturation. If the oxygen levels in your blood are in excess of 94% and you are not breathless then stay at home. However if the oxygen levels go below the 94% mark then you must be headed to a hospital which has atleast oxygen supply if not ventilators. All the hospitals which are present in the list of 19 hospitals have oxygen supply available. However if the condition of the patient deteriorates and ICU hospitalization is required with ventilator then there might be a problem because most of the hospitals in this list would not have surplus ventilators.
In normal times the ratio of ICU beds to ventilators is 3:1 meaning that a hospital with 30 ICU beds would have close to 10 ventilators and this is mostly sufficient. At times when the number of patients requiring ventilators go up, the hospital can get ventilators on rent. However currently this facility of ventilators on rent would not be available as all the ventilators would have already been taken up. In this article, I am going to talk about the 16 private hospitals which are admitting covid patients at present. The list includes big names like Medanta, Artemis, Paras, Fortis, Max and Narayana. It is not known how many beds each of these hospitals have reserved for Covid patients and how are they providing ICU facilities to these patients. The ICU services in these hospitals is truly world class and there should be no second thought about going to these hospitals for covid treatment provided money is not a problem. The cost of ICU treatment at any of these hospitals could be in the range of Rs. 30 – 100 thousand per day depending upon the condition of the patient and other co-morbidities present. Since the Covid treatment could take 7-14 days in the hospital, the total bill could be in the range of 4-10 lacs and in some cases even more. If your insurance covers this cost, good luck to you.
The other hospitals like Sethi, Park, Columbia Asia, Neelkanth, W-Pratiksha, Signature, Kalyani, Aryan, Mayom, Metro and Medeor are not in the same league when it comes to providing Critical Care Treatment but would be a good choice if you require just the isolation and oxygen support. These hospitals also have ICU facilities but the level would be a step below the top daddys of gurgaon healthcare. However the costs would also be lower as compared to the top end tertiary care hospitals. In some of these hospitals the treatment cost is also being borne by the government. If you have a health insurance policy then always check with your insurer as to what all is covered in the treatment of Covid. Most of the insurance companies are not paying for the PPE, Masks, Gloves etc and the cost of these items could be almost 50% of your hospital bill meaning that if you run a bill of 3 lacs for your covid treatment, you might have to pay 1.5 lacs or so out of your pocket despite having a health insurance policy.
The good thing that is being noticed in Gurgaon is that the mortality rate is quite low with just 4 deaths in 2000 patients. The number of patients requiring ICU admission or ventilator is also below the national average. However do not get fooled into complacency by these numbers thinking that the gurgaon residents are super humans. These are early days as most of the cases in Gurgaon have been diagnosed only recently and the number of cases is still rising. The level of testing in Gurgaon is also very low at around 400 tests per day of which almost 50% have been found positive in the last couple of days. Most of the people with symptoms are already going for testing and this could mean that the disease in the city is mostly asymptomatic. If the current trend holds then only around 10 – 20 % of the positive patients might require hospitalization. The real problem would start when the number of covid positive patients cross the figure of 5000. I sincerely hope that we are able to flatten the curve before we reach that level and this is possible only if the residents are on their toes.
Where Should Non-Covid Patients Go in these times – If you are a patient who is suffering from heart disease, kidney disease, brain disease or any other major problem then there is no other option but to go to the major super specialty hospitals of the city – Medanta, Fortis, Artemis, Paras, Narayana etc. However if you have smaller ailments like ENT, Gynaecological, Gastrointestinal, Orthopaedic, Skin, Eye, Dental problem then you should go to the hospitals which are not treating covid patients but still take utmost precautions to prevent the spread of the infection. Some of these facilities are :
- Miracles Mediclinic, Sector 14 – Gynae, ENT, Surgery including Delivery
- Alpine Hospital, Sector 15 – Pulmonology and Physiotherapy
- C.K.Birla Hospital, Sector 51 – Orthopaedics and Gynae
- Apollo Cradle, Sector 56 – Specialist Consultations and MRI, CT Scan
- Suraj Diagnostics, Civil Lines Ultrasound
- Anand Diagnostics, Jharsa Road – Ultrasound and CT Scan
All said and done, the health facilities in the city of Gurgaon for the treatment of Covid are neither sufficient nor affordable for the common people. The best solution is to stay away from the dreaded disease. Stay aloof, chatter less, listen more through your earphones, hug less. There will be better times to express your love than these. Wash hands as the first thing when you enter your home. Do not touch things with your fingers and do not touch your face with your hands. Use elbows to do most of the work like pressing lift buttons and pushing doors. Walking and exercising is extremely important during these times but do it alone. Watching other people from a distance of 6 feet can be exciting as you get to see them in full. `Walk the Talk’ is always desirable but `Talk while you Walk’ is not such a great idea during the Covid times.
April 2021 – Second Wave
The second wave of covid-19 began in the month of March 2021 and is still raging as we sit on 20th of April, 2021. New Delhi has gone into lockdown once again, the migrants are jostling to return to their homes and the threat of nationwide lockdown looms large. Hoarding has started again and there is a mad scramble for beds, ct scans and RT PCR Tests. This grim situation is when the vaccination drive has been going on for the last 3 months now. Massive crowds at the election rallies and religious events means that the peak is still some distance away. The healthcare infrastructure is already crumbling. Beds, oxygen, medicines, ventilators, CT scans are all bursting at the seams. Frayed tempers can be seen amongst the patients queuing for availing medical facilities. The number of people getting infected is so high that lockdown is not very far off. The only way to protect our health infrastructure is to spread awareness about the issues. People are rushing to get HRCT Done even without doing RT PCR Test. The same people are then returning to get repeat HRCT 3-4 days later. This is depriving the people who really need Chest CT to get appointment for their test. Each CT Scan centre is doing 70-80 scans per day which is burning down the radiologists. Ideally people must get CT Scan at the right time and only for the right reasons.
We are seeing such a huge rush of patients that things are becoming unmanageable says Mr. Anurag Srivastava of EHL Diagnostics. Our phone numbers of +91-8800188334 / 335 / 336 are receiving more than 1200 calls every day. Patients who do not need HRCT are also booking appointments. Reports are getting delayed, machine is going down at a much higher frequency than normal. Our waiting queue is so long that we have to send patients to other centres.