Ventilator shortage proves costly for two children in Bengaluru, doctors say more machines not the solution
news Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 05:30
Nayantara N | The News Minute | December 12, 2014 | 9.14 pm IST Eight-year-old Anand is currently in critical condition, fighting for his life. The boy having epilepsy since birth developed fever and convulsions on Tuesday, and was rushed to Nimhans, who denied him admission as all ventilators were being used. The parents then transported him to Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH) who too had shortage of ventilators. In the middle of the night, futile attempts were made to seek admission at Vani Vilas Hospital, Lady Curzon and Bowring Centre. Eventually, the child was taken back to IGICH. Doctors at the hospital removed the ventilator from a child who had just passed away and administered it to Anand. By then, Anand‚Äôs brain had suffered extensive damage. ‚ÄúSince there was delaying in administering treatment due to non-availability of ventilators, the brain functioning has come down,‚ÄĚ said the Director of the IGICH, Dr. Premlatha. She however said, if the child was given treatment on his arrival, his condition may not have deteriorated to such an extent. Later in the day, Akash, the son of construction worker suffered a head injury after he accidentally fell from the second floor of a building. His parents went through the same agony as Anand‚Äôs‚Ä¶ Speaking to The News Minute, Medical Superintendent of Nimhans, Dr. VL Satish explained why hospitals cannot cater to every emergency. ‚ÄúThere is a rising number of accidents every day, thus there are more number of patients. But investing in ventilators is not the solution because every ventilator needs an additional bed, more lab support, etc. The biggest problem is staff crunch ‚Äď each ventilator needs an additional doctor and three nurses to operate. So 10 ventilators is 30 nurses, how do you get so many of them?‚ÄĚ he asks. He claims that the hospital has 35 ventilators which is the highest in the city. ‚ÄúSometimes the ventilators are full, thus we advise the relatives of the patient to go to other hospitals.‚ÄĚ Dr. Premlatha too echoes the same sentiments. ‚ÄúThe machine is expensive and along with it the hospital must invest in other resources like nurses, doctors, lab equipment,‚ÄĚ she said. Currently, the hospital has 20 ventilators but ‚Äúeven if one increases the number to 40, it will not be adequate because there will more number of cases coming in and we need more man power to operate them,‚ÄĚ she adds. In a few cases, the child occupies the ventilator for 2-3 months and may later die. ‚ÄúThis is a waste of state resources as the child would not have achieved anything, i.e., not gained health,‚ÄĚ say said. Instead, she suggests ‚Äėquality preventative care‚Äô mode of approach to cases to avoid children reaching stages such as that of Akash and Anand. Both the doctors are of the opinion that there is an urgent need for the state to be less dependent on city hospitals for ventilators. Both recommend that district level hospitals must also have such facilities as it reduced the burden on both city counterparts and people coming from far distances.