By Venkatesh Raghavan*
Mumbai: Residential complexes in Mumbai have turned proactive in combating the increasing incidences of Corona virus deaths owing to shortage of beds that result in long waiting periods. South Mumbai which is currently witnessing a very dismal situation due to inadequate hospital space is in the forefront of battling this pandemic. The housing societies have started procuring oxygen cylinders and pulse oximeters in addition to making space for spare beds to ensure that corona patients get timely attention.
In order to ensure that people are aware of these alternate arrangements several videos have been made that demonstrate how oxygen should be administered to Corona patients at times of emergency. The videos are being circulated on the social media platforms like Facebook. The acute shortage of oxygen beds in the city hospitals, both private and government has coerced the managements in Mumbai’s housing societies to stock pile oxygen cylinders well in advance. This gives the Corona patients in the society something to fallback on in the event of an emergency.
The name that’s in the forefront for rearing this emergency remedy is Orchid Towers in South Central Mumbai. The residents of this housing society have been intimated about a helpline number in case of emergency. The measures initiated will ensure that adequate first-aid and life support is made available to the corona patients till such time hospital beds are ready to take them in for treatment.
To ease the situation on the pricing front, many non-profit organizations have stepped in to make oxygen cylinders available at affordable rates. Doctors staying in the society or neighbouring residences team up and provide treatment and also supervision. The non-profit organizations stick to the role of procurement and distribution of oxygen cylinders. In some cases, temporary beds are also kept in abeyance for swift first aid action.
Non-profit groups from Bhendi Bazaar and neighbouring Byculla that borders south Mumbai have also made provision for 24×7 helpline to assist in mitigating Corona cases within the residential complexes. Any patient or person who wants to purchase the oxygen cylinder on behalf of the patient has to furnish a doctor’s prescription to avail of this cost-effective solution.
Residents and society management said the shortage of ICU beds in the city’s civic and private hospitals made them take this initiative to avoid deaths due to delay in treatment. “Our troubles started when hospitals in and around started rejecting new entrants citing shortage of beds. We then realized that it required an additional support mechanism to resolve this crisis. In many instances housing societies avail the help and supervision of a local doctor for purposes of training and administering first aid,” said a resident. The local MLA from the Mumbadevi assembly constituency, Amin Patel said he was working in liaison with the residents of the housing societies to set up an oxygen cylinder bank of over 200 in number.
News pouring in from city hospitals of south Mumbai informed that on an average there is waiting list of 30 to 50 people each day. Deaths were also reported due to patients being admitted too late.
*The writer is a Mumbai-based senior journalist