Dengue epidemic: Toll rises to 11, Delhi’s special Assembly session to rein in private hospitals

New Delhi :As the national capital battled the worst outbreak of dengue in the past five years, Delhi Government tonight directed all private hospitals and nursing homes to increase the number of beds, and warned them of strict action if they denied treatment to any dengue patient.

In a meeting with over 1,000 representatives of private hospitals and nursing homes here this evening, Health Minister Satyendar Jain also directed them not to sell any medicine which might affect the platelet count.

The minister told the private health facilities that is they increase the bed strength, the government is ready to relax rules about the ratio of beds in a particular area till November 15.

Following reports of alleged refusal by private hospitals to admit dengue patients, Jain called the meeting with administrators of all private hospitals and nursing homes in the city.

The dengue menace continued to rattle Delhi with a six-year-old boy and a woman succumbing to the vector-borne disease, raising the toll to 11 today even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government was mulling bringing a law to enable temporary takeover of private hospitals during emergencies.

As hospitals across Delhi continued to be inundated with dengue patients, the Delhi Cabinet held an emergency meeting which reviewed the deteriorating situation. It also explored various options to ensure that private hospitals do not refuse to admit dengue patients.

A 45-year-old woman constable today died of suspected dengue here, with 60 more persons tested positive for the virus in the district.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (CO City-IInd) Vijay Pratap said that lady constable Rama Sharma, posted at Sihani Gate police station, was suffering from fever for the past 15 days and was admitted in a private hospital.

On September 13, she was shifted to Yashoda Hospital here.

Sharma’s platelet count was 11,400 on the day she was brought to the hospital and tested positive for NS1 antigen test (an early diagnosis of dengue virus infection), Yashoda Hospital doctor, Sangeeta Garg, said.

Meanwhile, the district Malaria officer Gyanendra Mishra said that the constable died of multiple organ failure and not dengue.

Her ‘anti-body’ test was found negative even after seven days. Her platelet count had plummeted and the infusion of platelets was need of the hour, Mishra said.

A 40-year-old woman, who was admitted at Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital here, died of dengue some 25 days ago, the hospital chairman Vinay Aggarwal said, making it the second reported death due to the virus in the district.

Mishra further said that out of 450 tests conducted for suspected dengue, 60 persons have confirmed positive to the virus.

In addition to the new cases, 50 patients from Delhi, 25 from Noida, 5 from Hapur and 15 patients of Bulandshahr are being treated for dengue at various hospitals in Ghaziabad, he said.

Delhi government today announced its Anti-Corruption Helpline – 1031 – as new helpline number for dengue-related queries.

The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, to give all relevant information about dengue and its treatment.

“As we were getting more calls on existing number – 011-23307145, we have decided to use ACB’s helpline number 1031 as an additonal dengue helpline number,” said a senior government official.

The official said that the tele-callers are in good numbers at ACB’s call centres which will speed up the process to guide the callers.

“We will use ACB’s helpline number as dengue helpline till the situation gets normal,” official said.

Yesterday, Delhi government had launched a round-the clock helpline– 011-23307145– to help dengue patients. Kejriwal said this helpline will provide all relevant information relating to treatment of dengue.

Officials said the government yesterday directed its hospitals to cancel leave of all doctors, nurses and para-medics in view of the situation.