Dengue turns cash cow for private hospitals in Kozhikode

KOZHIKODE: Private hospitals in the district are having a field day, thanks to the dengue epidemic. A dozen hospitals in the district are full to bed capacity and now single rooms are being shared by two or even three patients as the rush is continuing unabated. Close to 50 patients seek admission in several private hospitals in the city everyday. Patients with blood platelet count less than 50,000  are being admitted and those with less than 20,000 are referred to the intensive care unit (ICU).

A single room in a major hospital which normally costs between Rs 1,200  and  Rs 2,000 is now being shared by upto three patients, each one paying  Rs 2,000 per day. “The nursing charges per day have skyrocketed from Rs 500 to Rs 1,200. Besides, several blood tests are slapped on,” said a nurse in a hospital who requested anonymity. She said that close to 190 patients were being put through the triage system whereas it was 90 before the outbreak of dengue. Though the rooms and wards are full, there is no let up in the admissions and the lack of space often results in a tiff between nurses and bystanders.

The failure of timely reporting of dengue/viral fever cases to the district medical office (DMO) as well as under reporting are also alleged. “Close to 50 admissions alone are taking place in each hospital. If one totals them along with those admitted to private hospitals and compared with the tally released by DMO daily, it appears there is gross under-reporting,” suspected a staff nurse at another hospital. But District Medical Officer, Dr Ashadevi denied the under-reporting allegation. “The DMO office has been receiving timely information on viral fever diseases. Around 50 per cent of the total cases are reported from private hospitals and clinics,” she said.

1,910 fever cases Tuesday

1910 cases of viral fever were reported on Tuesday, according to the district medical office. Of these, five were admitted. 81 were suspected cases of dengue and one confirmed case of Hepatitis A from Mankavu was also registered. As many as 215 ADD (Acute diarrhoeal disease) cases were also reported.  A total of 34,044 patients visited the outpatient wing of various health institutions on Tuesday.

The household visit and cleanliness drive by the health squad has been continuing. A cleanliness drive was carried out in various wards and public spots as a part of preventing the fever epidemic. “Health squads visited households, government institutions, private hospitals, private institutions, construction sites, camps of other state labourers and plantation sites ” said District Medical Officer (DMO) Dr Ashadevi. She added that the special drive by the Directorate of Health Service (DHS) would also be held in the coming days.   

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