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In Faridkot, 200-bed govt medical college shares Covid load of 7 districts


Written by Raakhi Jagga
| Faridkot |

Published: July 28, 2020 11:24:54 pm

Covid cases, Coronavirus test, Faridkot district, Punjab news, Indian express news While Faridkot has gone from three cases on April 28 to 261 cases on July 28, the district has only 66 active cases, with no deaths due to coronavirus. (representational)
A small district in south-west Punjab, Faridkot, had 66 active Covid-19 cases as on Tuesday. But the district has become a nodal point for providing Covid care to seven districts, including itself, as it houses a 200-bed government medical college hospital. A closer look at the inventory of the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital (GGSMCH) revealed that it shares load of critical patients from Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Moga, Ferozepur, Fazilka and Faidkot.

While Faridkot has gone from three cases on April 28 to 261 cases on July 28, the district has only 66 active cases, with no deaths due to coronavirus. However, the GGSMCH has seen five deaths of coronavirus patients, all from outside the district. The most recent death at the hospital was of Dr Parvinder Kamboj, a 45-year-old Assistant Professor from DAV B.Ed college, Abohar. Dr Kamboj was a Covid-19 suspect, who was declared negative after his death. The circumstances of his death are now being probed by a committee set up by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) to look into the matter after the family alleged negligence.

“So far there has been no death due to Covid-19 in Faridkot. However, 5 positive patients have died in GGSMCH who came from Ferozepur, Fazilka, Moga and Ludhiana. Many Covid-19 suspects have also died due to their critical illnesses, though they had turned out to be negative later on. We are inquiring in the case of Dr Kamboj. He was very sick…but the ward had oxygen support, ventilator etc all facilities. However, the patient’s BP was very low. Anyways, inquiry will reveal everything,” said Dr Rajeev Joshi, Medical Superintendent, GGSMCH.

The medical college hospital has 200 beds, and as of now 100 have been earmarked for critical patients and the rest for non-Covid cases. All beds have oxygen facility and 21 have ventilator support.

Dr Joshi added, “We are a referral centre primarily for six districts other than Faridkot. At times, patients from Ludhiana also come here. In fact, we don’t say no to patients coming from any part of Punjab. So far, over 600 patients have come to GGSMCH since March from different districts including Faridkot. These also included suspects as well who were critical and had Covid like symptoms.”

District’s resources

Meanwhile, out of 66 active patients in Faridkot, 33 are in Level 1, 6 in Level 2 and 15 in Level 3 Covid care.

The Level 2 Covid Care Centres are at Community Health Centre, Sadiq, Bajakhana with 85 beds in total.

Dr Rajinder Kumar, Civil Surgeon, Faridkot, said, “All our Level 2 beds are oxygen beds, but we have no ventilators and no ICU in any of our district hospital. Medical college is of Punjab government, but it is controlled by BFUHS. We refer patients if needed as it is government hospital. We have an added advantage.”

“Medical college has total 47 Covid-19 patients as of now. Out of this 15 are from Faridkot,” said Dr Vikramjit Singh, district epidemiologist.

The Civil Surgeon added, “We have no basic life support (BLS) ambulance in our Level 2 hospitals but have 5 ambulances of the 108 scheme. I have a wishlist that our district civil hospital and community health centres should also be equipped to handle critical patients (Covid or non- Covid) rather than depending all the time on medical college, which caters to the rush of 7-8 districts of Punjab.”

According to Civil Surgeon Dr Rajinder Kumar, the district had a 45 per cent shortage of health staff, and it needs ICU, ventilators in the Level 2 hospitals.

“We need advanced life support (ALS) and BLS ambulance for the district Civil Hospital for shifting serious cases from DCHCs to tertiary care centres,” the Civil Surgeon said.

However, the GGSMCH, which is one of the oldest medical colleges of Punjab, was presented a BLS ambulance by Faridkot MP Mohd Sadiq in mid-April.

V-C Dr Raj Bahadur said,”Now our university has three BLS ambulances — one at Bathinda, another at Jalalabad and third at Faridkot. All centres are under university and hence patients from these places can be sent to medical college in critical conditions. These places are at a distance of around 70 km from Faridkot.”

Bathinda and Ferozepur MPs, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Sukhbir Badal, had purchased BLS ambulances for Bathinda and Jalalabad, respectively, using MPLAD funds.

Testing facility

The medical college also has a laboratory for testing Covid patients and this automated lab can do up to 3,000 tests in a day. This laboratory handles tests from 8 districts of Punjab — Faridkot, Moga, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa and Barnala.

“If needed, even districts like Ludhiana can send us samples. We are ready to handle the load,” said Dr Neerja Jindal, head of the microbiology department of GGSMCH. But notwithstanding that claim, Dr Kamboj’s test report had come back negative on July 23, after his death, despite the sample being logged in medical college’s official records on July 21.


Total patients: 261

Active Covid cases: 66

100-bed Level 1 facility
85-bed Level 2 facility

100-bed Level 3 facility at govt medical college

21 – Ventilators

1 – BLS ambulance based at Faridkot medical college

5 – Swab collection centres

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