Volunteers helpless as request for beds shoot up, say situation ‘too bad’

As the State registered over 48,000 cases on Friday, the volunteers said it is next to impossible to get ICU beds in Bengaluru.

Published: 01st May 2021 06:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st May 2021 06:57 AM   |  A+A-

Saqib Idrees, a volunteer, checks the temperature of a child | Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: With the daily number of Covid cases jumping by thousands every day in the state, the situation on the ground has turned horrific. Many volunteers have come forward to help Covid patients find beds, but they have thrown up their hands, saying the situation is too bad and they are not being able to find beds for hundreds of desperate patients.

During the first wave of the pandemic in July-September when cases had shot up to between 5,000 and 10,000, many faced difficulties in finding beds. Now, with cases four times that number, the crisis is far worse, they said. As the State registered over 48,000 cases on Friday, the volunteers said it is next to impossible to get ICU beds in Bengaluru.

The volunteers usually try to book BBMP beds by calling zonal officers, but many a time BBMP does not call back and patients are left waiting with some even losing their lives. The 108 helpline constantly remains unresponsive, they complained.

Saqib Idrees, a volunteer from Bangalore for Migrants, said, “ICU beds are like a distant dream and even getting HDU beds is getting difficult. I have two numbers and I get over 3,000 calls every day. With the increase in cases, we have started prioritising cases. Right now, we are seeing the younger age group getting infected and needing oxygen or a ventilator. We put them on priority. On Friday, I had 500 patients in need of ICU, but not even one was available. Where will these patients go? We have had many pending cases. Some have gotten critical and passed away too. People have started sending videos, saying their fatheris not breathing and they need help desperately. But we are helpless.”

Aimen Muiz, a volunteer from the Emergency Response Team, said, “I get around 200 calls per day from families of Covid-infected patients, asking me to find oxygenated beds as the patient’s oxygen saturation level would have hit a low. We start panicking looking at the number of calls and patients in need. It is traumatising as we can only help around 10 patients that too based on the availability of beds.

For others, we just give them the numbers and ask them to arrange for beds themselves.”She said, “Children call me and tell me that their father passed away because of Covid, and whether we could help save their mother by finding ICU beds. But there are absolutely no ICU beds anywhere.”


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