Cyclone Fani: Powerless, private hospitals suffer

Hospitals unable to afford fuel expenses are likely to shut down in a day or two in absence of power

Published: 08th May 2019 10:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th May 2019 10:04 AM   |  A+A-

An electric pole damaged by Cyclone Fani near Jharapada in Bhubaneswar (Photo | Biswanath Swain/EPS)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  Even as power supply was restored at Capital Hospital within 72 hours after cyclone Fani struck the City, several private hospitals here are struggling to run their respective units and render health services in the absence of electricity. Fani, considered almost on par with 1999 Super Cyclone, has caused extensive damage to power infrastructure in the twin city of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack besides Puri as more than 90 per cent of electricity poles have either been uprooted or damaged. Besides water supply, health care has been the worst hit due to absence of power. 

Major hospitals like Apollo, AMRI, Care, SUM, KIMS, Hemalata and HCG Panda Cancer Hospital, managed by corporate houses, have been functioning round-the-clock through DG sets. However, many private hospitals which cannot afford the fuel expenses are likely to shut down if they are not provided with power in a day or two.      

The hospitals, which are mostly dependent on DG sets, have been incurring huge losses as patient inflow has been negligible following the calamity. In fact, many private hospitals recorded almost zero patient attendance at their OPD on May 3 and 4. CEO of Apollo Hospitals (Odisha and Chhattisgarh) Sudhir M Diggikar admitted that the flow of patients has come down post cyclone, but the hospital is functioning with its own power back-up system and there has been no disruption of services.

“Since water and power supply have been major issues post-Fani, we have alerted our staff to be extra cautious while using both the commodities. We have been facing a lot of difficulties as the communication network has collapsed. We were prepared for three days and may face trouble if power is not restored soon,” he said. 

The hospital had 230 indoor patients when the cyclone struck. Though usually 750 to 800 patients report at its OPD, the number has been almost half. Same is the case with AMRI run by Emami Group where the number of outdoor patients has been drastically low. 

The hospitals were also hit by shortage of staff, mostly attendants and Class-IV employees who were busy rebuilding their houses after the cyclone. Though there has been no compromise on emergency procedures, many hospitals have postponed planned surgeries, which will be conducted once normalcy is restored. 
“Irrespective of the patient strength, we had to run our units as usual. It is our moral duty to serve people during the time of emergency,” said Unit Head of AMRI Hospitals, Bhubaneswar Laxminarayan Reddy Chinnam.

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