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Delhi govt sets up 4 panels to monitor deaths in hospitals with higher fatality rates

Even as the number of deaths due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Delhi has dropped, the government has set up four committees of four members each to inspect hospitals and wards that are reporting the highest number of deaths. The panels have been asked to submit their suggestions on reducing deaths by August 3 to principal health secretary Vikram Dev Dutt, the order states.

“It has been observed that the percentage of deaths vis-à-vis admissions and the percentage of Covid-19 deaths in wards in 11 hospitals, government and private, is on the higher side during the period July 1 to July 23, 2020. Four committee comprising of specialists, two from internal medicine and another two from anaesthesia, have been constituted for inspecting the allotted hospitals to examine whether the standard treatment protocols for treating Covid patients are being followed,” an order from the health secretary Padmini Singla read.

The hospitals to be inspected include private ones like Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Max Hospital (Saket), St Stephen’s hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Jaipur Golden hospital and Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, and government facilities such as Ram Manohar Lohia, Safdarjung, Lok Nayak, and GTB hospitals. Some of the Capital’s major Covid-19 treatment facilities, these hospitals often receive many patients with severe symptoms.

The committee consists of doctors from hospitals managing Covid-19 like Lok Nayak and Safdarjung as well as non-Covid hospitals like Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital, Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, and Aruna Asaf Ali government hospital.

“There has been a reduction in the number of deaths due to corona, however, we need to reduce it further. Today, we constituted four committees that will inspect hospitals and provide suggestion — 1. Where there have been more deaths, 2. Where there have been more deaths in the wards, meaning patients were not moved to the ICU on time,” said Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet.

On Thursday, Delhi recorded 29 deaths due to Covid-19 across the city, taking the total toll to 3,936. On average, the city recorded about 27 deaths during the previous week. This is almost one-fifth of the 101 deaths – the highest number of deaths recorded in the city on one day, according to data shared by the CM office earlier.

This puts the city’s case fatality rate – percentage of people who have died among the number of infections detected – at 2.9%.

This comes after the government had asked a 12-member court-appointed committee — that had been tasked with providing suggestions about patient care — to look into reducing deaths as well.

“I haven’t received the orders yet. Once we do, we will decide along with other committee members what aspects we have to observe. Most likely we have to see whether they have adequate facilities and whether the standard of care was followed. However, from what I have seen at our hospital, the mortality has actually gone down significantly now and the patients who do die are the ones who have multiple co-morbid conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes with kidney disease etc. The young or relatively healthy people who do die sometimes are those who reach the hospital late when their oxygen saturation is already very low,” said one of the committee members from Lok Nayak hospital, on condition of anonymity.

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