COVID kept 200-odd patients in Gandhi ICU for 3-6 months

650-bed ICU at the State-run facility largest in the country, say doctors

Around 200 patients who suffered from COVID-19 and related complications underwent ICU treatment for three to six months at Gandhi Hospital in the past year and a half.

Doctors at the State-run facility said that the 650-bed ICU at Gandhi Hospital is the largest in the country, where hundreds of patients undergo treatment for prolonged periods. On November 20, a report in The Hindu (Man returns home after spending half a year in Gandhi Hospital) had highlighted the story of a 33-year-old man, M. Suresh Kumar, who was treated at the hospital for six months.

He was on CPAP for several weeks along with ICD (intercostal drainage) tubes in both lungs. At one point, he was in sepsis with multi-organ dysfunction and was in a very critical condition. Doctors had to perform lung surgery on him.

Gandhi Hospital superintendent M. Raja Rao said the patients who were treated for three or more months included people with uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes, which affects brain, eyes, kidneys, other organs, and were afflicted with COVID-19.

“The patients also included those with uncontrolled diabetes, organ dysfunction, and then got COVID. Then there were cancer patients who got the infection, as also those in end-stage renal disease or liver cirrhosis who contracted coronavirus. Around 75% of the critical cases fell in this category. The patients who could sustain on oxygen support did not get admitted here,” said Dr Raja Rao.

COVID patients with lung fibrosis and thromboembolism (clots in blood vessel), also underwent treatment for a long duration. Dr Raja Rao said the mortality rate in their ICUs is less than 20%, which is the usual rate in any critical care ICU. However, the exact percentage of mortality at the hospital is yet to be arrived upon.

Cost point

The list of patients included people belonging to poor sections and also middle class. Some of them opted for the government hospital after coughing up a hefty amount at private hospitals. As bills for ICU treatment at corporate hospitals runs into several lakhs, not everyone can afford it. Private hospitals charge upwards of ₹50,000 for critical care treatment in ICUs.

Gandhi doctors said besides treatment, the patients are provided three meals a day costing around ₹270. Since people cannot step out of bed or walk around extensively during treatment in ICUs, patient care providers look after their needs.

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