Covid patients’ agonising wait for key drugs

Though a doctor checked his health at about 11 am, he was not given a single drug till 4 pm, nearly 10 hours after his admission. 

Published: 19th September 2020 08:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2020 08:21 AM   |  A+A-

COVID testing

For representational purposes

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The Covid treatment guidelines are being flouted as patients are complaining of agonising wait for administration of drugs and diagnostic procedures in the two major Covid hospitals set up in collaboration with the State Government in the city.

Sample this. A 42-year-old patient was admitted to a Covid Hospital at about 12.40 am on September 7 after he was referred from Balasore. Though a doctor checked his health at about 11 am, he was not given a single drug till 4 pm, nearly 10 hours after his admission. 

The patient’s chest x-ray had detected severe congestion. Unable to manage the condition, the Balasore hospital referred him. “But to my utter surprise, no one responded for hours together despite severity of the disease. I was administered an anti-viral nearly 15 hours after my admission following intervention of a senior health official. The medicines prescribed in the morning were given me in the evening. Reason: there was no stock. The hospital technicians conducted a chest x-ray after three days. Had I developed further complications in my organs, who would have been responsible?” he asked.

Similar is the situation at another Covid Hospital set up by the Government. A patient from Cuttack undergoing treatment there alleged that though he was given FabiFlu at about 12.30 am, nearly 13 hours after prescription, only after he insisted the nurses on duty, they did not administer Remdesivir citing unavailability. 

“I was lucky to get FabiFlu, but not others in my ward. Nurses say the drugs will be given once those are available. With everything moving in a perfunctory manner, it appears Covid management is at the mercy of God. Nobody looks serious irrespective of severity of the disease in patients,” he observed.       

Reports from different Covid hospitals indicate that patients with mild symptoms are made to wait hours for drugs, sometimes their condition getting deteriorated due to delay in treatment. Though ICMR has advised to administer FabiFlu, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab as the drugs to reduce the recovery time, many Covid hospitals still continue to rely on antibiotics citing shortage of antiviral drugs.  

Additional Chief Secretary of Health PK Mohapatra said it is the responsibility of the Covid hospitals to purchase the drugs on time and get the bills reimbursed. He assured to look into the allegations. Sources said the State Government had supplied Fabiflu and other antiviral drugs for 500 patients to SUM Covid Hospital after it failed to get the stock from market.   

Ensure availability of essential drugs: Govt
Observing that Fabipiravir, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab are now scarce at most of the Covid hospitals in the State, Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra has directed the Odisha State Medical Corporation (OSMC) to make immediate availability of the drugs. He also asked the Covid hospitals to install CCTVs in ICUs, general wards and corridors for close monitoring of doctors and paramedics and make their helpline numbers functional 24x7 so that relatives of patients can ascertain their well-being. The hospitals have been instructed to inform the condition of critically ill patients to their relatives through the helpline numbers on a daily basis.


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