Gangtok: A 26-year-old coronavirus-infected woman, who died on Saturday morning, could have been probably saved if one of the nine patients in the ICU at STNM Hospital in Sikkim would have vacated a bed for her, said sources.

The woman, who didn’t have any comorbidity, was referred to STNM Hospital in Gangtok from Singtam district hospital on Friday. She breathed her last at 7 am on Saturday due to high oxygen need.

Sources at STNM Hospital said: “This time, the situation is different. Every patient is coming with low oxygen. The woman who died on Saturday was on high flow oxygen and was kept in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).

There were nine patients in the ICU. The doctor on-duty and nurses requested some patients who were a bit stable to shift out but all of them denied, the sources said. “Even a doctor’s husband was kept in the general ward because of non-availability of an ICU bed,” the sources added.

Another doctor requesting anonymity said, “The doctors and nurses on duty felt really bad about the situation. They later shifted three patients forcefully and wanted to keep at least a bed vacant for emergency. But since Saturday evening, serious patients were shited and once again the ICU is full,” the doctor added.

Currently, the COVID-19 hospital has six patients with low SpO2 or oxygen saturation waiting for admission to the ICU. “Some patients, who were also on high-flow oxygen but not in the need of a ventilator, were stable at that moment. They could have vacated the bed for the now deceased woman. The woman was given all the medicines and was on high-flow oxygen like the rest of the patients,” said another doctor.

Even now, there are 28 patients on high-flow oxygen, the doctor added.

Out of the 88 patients, only 20 may be discharged in the next 10 days. A patient usually stays about 10 days to a month or two at the most.

“The virus is quite strong this time causing direct respiratory distress. Few patients are RT-PCR negative but we are detecting some COVID-19 cases on the basis of CT scan on highly-suspected cases,” informed the doctor.

Also read: Sikkim: Newly-elected municipal councillor Raju Tamang dies of COVID-19

Meanwhile, the COVID section of the hospital is in dire need of staff nurses on duty at the ICU as all patients are in high flow oxygen and need constant monitoring. Technicians are required for ventilator as most patients in the ICU and HDU are in high-flow oxygen and may need ventilator anytime, said a doctor.

Elsewhere, COVID duty medical officers, nurses and sanitary attendants are in need of quarantine for seven days. “If not seven days, then at least five. We are drained, mentally, physically and emotionally stressed. Many of us are having sore throat and are feverish,” said a doctor.

“A nurse on duty tested positive for COVID-19 today. We fear for our family members. If anybody is a carrier then they will spread to all the wards, OPDs and ERs. We need time to recuperate,” the doctor added.

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