Mumbai’s Healthcare System Failing in Face of Rising COVID Cases

Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital goes to show healthcare system is failing to handle COVID-19 cases.  

Updated06 Jun 2020, 11:47 AM IST
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2 min read

(Corrigendum: An earlier version of the video used images of NCSI Dome DCHC to represent an isolation centre in Mulund. The error is regretted.)

The recent strike at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital goes to show how the city’s healthcare system is failing to handle the rising COVID-19 cases.

Maharashtra, and Mumbai specifically, are buckling under the pressure of the mounting COVID-19 cases. Healthcare workers are overburdened and hospitals are overworked.

A viral video that was shot by a coronavirus patient’s relative alleged that not one nurse was present in a ward containing 33 patients. Only three doctors were present.

Mumbai’s coronavirus-positive cases crossed the 35,000-mark on 1 June 2020. Nurses allege that they do not have access to swab tests. One of them told The Quint, “Without access to these tests, how can we be sure we are not taking the infection back to our families?”

Mumbai has been fighting the pandemic for the last three months.

Shortage of Beds, Doctors & Nurses

In some cases, no ward boys or nurses can be seen in ICUs.

In one instance, relatives said they had to enter the ICU to help their respective patients. Mumbai is currently in need of 5,000 doctors and nurses.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is offering better salaries to doctors and has issued notices to a few to resume work. A team of 100 doctors and nurses from Kerala have even come to help, but it does not seem to be enough.

The doctors and nurses who are working are also upset. They demand fewer working hours, as working for eight hours while wearing PPE kits is very difficult.

“There is no staff apart from three residents who are handling it all. We are over-burdened and unable to manage 35 patients. Authorities aren’t doing anything.”
A KEM Resident

Many healthcare workers are unable to come to work due to a lack of transportation facilities. Patients have to wait for seven to eight hours for an ambulance. The BMC authorities claim that 456 ambulances are currently operational in the city but disinfecting an ambulance after dropping a patient is a time-consuming task.

Mumbai may have 1 lakh positive cases by June-end. So, what happens next? With the onset of monsoons and the number of malaria, dengue, and flu patients increasing, how will the city handle the crisis?

We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

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Published: 05 Jun 2020, 12:04 PM IST

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