NEW DELHI: Three more persons have succumbed to dengue, taking the toll to 14 today, as hospitals across the capital continued to wilt under huge rush of patients down with the mosquito-borne fever while an embattled Delhi government directed all medical institutions to urgently increase bed capacity and employ more doctors and nurses.
A 41-year-old woman died of dengue at the Moolchand Hospital while a 14-year-old boy and a seven-year-old boy succumbed to the disease at Maharaja Agrasen Hospital and B L Kapur Hospital here respectively.
Almost all government-run hospitals were under increasing pressure as three to four patients were cramped on one bed in some of them due to unavailability of beds.
As hospitals and nursing homes across Delhi were inundated with patients, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain directed private hospitals to increase their bed capacity by 10-20 per cent as soon as possible to treat dengue patients.
"Private hospitals have been asked to increase capacity by 10 to 20 per cent. Even a rise of 2,500 in the number of beds in private hospitals would be a big jump," Jain said, adding government-run facilities have been ordered to increase beds by 1,000 by Sunday.
He said more dengue testing kits are being procured and private hospitals have been asked not to charge more than Rs 600 for the test which is free in government facilities.
Long queues were seen at Out Patient Departments and 'fever clinics' at almost all government hospitals.
Currently, the total bed capacity of city hospitals is around 50,000 which include 10,000 beds in Delhi government-run hospitals and 20,000 in private hospitals. The hospitals run by municipal corporations and Centre have a capacity of 10,000 beds each.
Jain said all the hospitals have been told to use all available beds including those kept for disaster situations.
"A blanket order has been issued giving hospitals powers to buy more beds, employ more doctors, nurses and paramedic staff depending on their requirement. All arrangements have been made to ensure best possible treatment to dengue patients," he said.
Insisting that the government will not tolerate refusal of treatment by private hospitals, Jain said they must stabilise the affected persons and make necessary arrangements if there was no availability of bed.
Yesterday, the government had warned private hospitals of strict punitive action including cancellation of licence if they refuse treatment to dengue patient.