All seven ventilators at Tikapur Hospital remain unusedMany critically ill Covid-19 patients have to seek treatment outside Tikapur since the district hospital has not been able to run its ventilator service for a lack of medical staff.
A Covid-19-infected woman urgently needed a ventilator while receiving treatment at Tikapur Hospital in Kailali a week ago. The critically ill woman in her early forties had to be airlifted to Chitwan since Tikapur Hospital did not have staff to run its ventilators.
“We had to take her to Chitwan in a chartered helicopter since her treatment was not possible in Tikapur,” said the patient’s relative.
Another infected man from Tikapur Municipality-1 died for want of a ventilator 11 days ago. The 45-year-old man admitted at Tikapur Hospital needed to be placed on a ventilator, as his health condition suddenly worsened. His relatives decided to take him to Kohalpur of neighbouring Banke district in search of a ventilator. But the critically ill patient died on the way.
Many critically ill Covid-19 patients are compelled to seek treatment outside Tikapur since the district hospital has not been able to run its ventilator service.
Tikapur Hospital has seven ventilators at the Intensive Care Unit but they have been left unused even in the present crisis due to a lack of trained human resource to operate them.
“Critically ill patients with very low oxygen concentration need to be put on a ventilator,” said Dr Rem Kumar Rai, the medical superintendent of Tikapur Hospital.
“We are seeing a surge in critical cases during the second wave of the pandemic. But we are compelled to refer patients to other health facilities, as we are unable to operate the available ventilators.”
The federal and the provincial governments had provided four and two ventilators respectively to Tikapur Hospital last year. Another ventilator was provided by a donor agency a few months ago.
According to Dr Rai, the Provincial Health Training Centre sent a letter to the hospital a few weeks ago asking to operate ventilators with the help of doctors who have received general training on ventilator usage.
“It is not possible to operate the ventilators with the available human resources. We need anesthesiologists to run the machines,” said Rai.
Tikapur Hospital is a major health institution visited by the residents of Kailali and various western settlements of Bardiya district. Critically ill patients are deprived of essential medical care in Tikapur in light of the severe crunch of anesthesiologists.
Twenty-three Covid-19 patients are currently receiving treatment at the hospital.
Deepak Rawat, the hospital development committee chairman, said that seven ventilators have been left unused since the hospital has not been able to manage human resources to operate them.
“We have been asking the federal and provincial governments to manage human resources for the past one year. But our demand is yet to be addressed. The hospital is making efforts to hire an anesthesiologist with our own budget but we haven’t found anyone qualified for the job,” said Rawat. “For now, the hospital has no alternative but to refer critically ill Covid-19 patients to Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj or other places.”