COVID patients being treated on the floor as Lumbini Provincial Hospital runs out of beds

The Lumbini Provincial Hospital in Butwal of Rupandehi has been grappling to provide oxygen as all COVID infected patients admitted to the hospital are in need of oxygen support.

“The hospital get a supply of 200 cylinders of oxygen daily. But the daily demand for oxygen is 400 to 450 cylinders,” said the hospital’s COVID focal person Dr Nandu Pathak.

“Even the slightest disruption in the regular supply of oxygen can result in various problems in treatment and put patients at risk of losing their lives. But we cannot help it as we don’t have enough oxygen cylinders because the three oxygen industries operating in the district supply only 200 cylinders to the hospital daily,” he said.

The dysfunctional oxygen plant at the hospital was repaired only on Thursday and it produces 20 cylinders of oxygen daily.

The HDU and ICU rooms of the COVID Special Hospital run by Lumbini Provincial Hospital are full. According to Pathak, 36 COVID infected patients are being treated in HDU and 15 in ICU.

“We have placed two infected patients in each bed of the emergency room. We are running in full capacity and struggling due to an alarming rise in incoming patients,” he said adding, “As the hospital has run out of beds, we have no option but to treat infected patients on the hospital’s floor.”

Dr Pathak said that the hospital was facing shortage of beds despite placing two patients each in all beds of the emergency room.

There are 52 COVID patients in the emergency room of Lumbini Provincial Hospital and eight patients in the COVID ward.

“Most patients come in saying they have difficulty breathing. The hospital does not have empty beds, but the patients beg for admission anyway. So, we place them on the floor and start the treatment. Even the patients insist that they’re ready to stay on the hospital floor if it means they can get treatment. We have been forced to provide the patients with oxygen support on the floor as they lay on mats, and sit in chairs and benches,” informed hospital spokesperson Bishnu Gautam.

He added that the hospital was no longer able to handle the pressure of new and incoming COVID patients due to shortage of manpower as well as necessary infrastructure.

Two COVID infected patients receiving treatment at the hospital passed away in the past 24 hours.