Hospitals not following treatment protocols, expert teams tell Bengal govt

The expert teams pointed out at least six "deficiencies in the clinical management of the patients"

Hospital
The state government had fixed rates for private hospitals for COVID-19 treatment after several reports of hospitals fleecing patients came up. Representational image: iStock

Many state-run and private hospitals are not properly following the treatment protocols in West Bengal, observed expert teams formed by the state government to monitor clinical management of patients. The damning report comes amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The teams, in their report to the health department, pointed out at least six “deficiencies in the clinical management of the patients” after inspecting treatment protocols that are being followed in government as well as private hospitals.

Based on the report, the health department has issued three consecutive advisories to the hospitals since Monday for “urgent rectification” and “compliance.”

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Cracking whips, the department also shunted out the chief medical officer of North 24 Parganas, Tapan Kumar Saha, as the recovery rate in the district was found to be “unsatisfactory.” The recovery rate in the district is 56.79 per cent as against the overall state rate of 64.93 per cent.

North 24 Parganas also has the highest caseload after Kolkata — 4,617 positive cases, out of which 1,845 are active cases.

The state government formed two protocol monitoring teams on June 24 with each team comprising three experts to “regularly assess by physical visit to hospitals” whether the protocols of COVID-19 are being followed properly.

The teams observed that several hospitals were not properly recording data pertaining to health parameters of the patients, such as blood pressure levels, body temperature and response to antibiotics and steroids.

Related news: COVID-19: West Bengal’s single-day spike crosses 1,000 for first time

In certain cases, the doctors were found to be unaware of the oxygen saturation level in blood of some of the COVID-19 patients, a health department official said.

In some hospitals, central monitoring system was not available in intensive care units, while in certain cases it was found that case summary was not attached while referring patients from one hospital to another.

Some hospitals are also yet to comply with the state government’s directive to form a quick response team to ensure prompt action when a patient shows signs of deterioration.

Taking serious note of these lapses, on July 8, the department issued a 10-point advisory for the “general management protocol” and nine-point guidelines for “clinical management protocols”, asking all the 80 COVID-19 hospitals to “mandatorily implement” the recommendations.

Related news: West Bengal develops ‘safe homes’ to treat mild COVID-19 cases

Many hospitals are yet to follow the directives as has been evident from the visit of the teams to private hospitals on Friday. During their visit, they again found certain lapses.

“The experts from the Protocol Monitoring Team as deputed by the health department… visited some private Covid hospitals today (July 10) and noted some deficiencies in practice which need urgent attention and rectification,” read a government memo issued by the director of medical education and director of health services.

The officials of the department, however, did not mention the names of hospitals that have failed to follow the treatment protocols properly.

After a slight dip in the number of new cases in the beginning of June, the number of fresh cases witnessed a sudden surge in June-end. As many as 1,088 fresh cases were detected on Thursday, which was the highest single-day spike in the state.

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