Simultaneously, a doctor from the hospital made calls to people and tried to arrange a bed for a relative.

Covid patients were turned away from the gates of most hospitals in Noida on Saturday with no ICU or oxygen beds being available. A few critical patients, however, were given emergency treatment or provided with oxygen cylinders outside the wards.

At the Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) in Greater Noida, three critical patients lay on stretchers and were put on oxygen support while their families waited near the Covid help desk under a shed. With the shed barely sheltering them from the sun and the heat, family members of each patient took turns to fan them. A daughter of one of the patient’s kept reminding her father to lie down in the prone position.

Another patient, Sunita Devi (53), who was brought in an ambulance from Bulandshahr, waited on a stretcher while her family kept asking authorities about the bed situation. Her son, Vivek Kumar (31) said she has no other symptoms besides breathing problems, which started two days ago. “Since then, we tried to admit her to hospitals in Bulandshahr, Sikandrabad and Meerut but didn’t get a bed anywhere,” he said. Her oxygen levels were down to 80, despite oxygen support.

Simultaneously, a doctor from the hospital made calls to people and tried to arrange a bed for a relative. Another doctor who tried to help her, and did not want to be named, said, “I wish people understood that doctors are not God. We have been working really hard but we cannot assure anyone a bed. This is a systemic breakdown. We had 200 beds in the hospital but the situation became so severe that we added more beds somehow.”

In emergency cases, like the three patients on stretchers, the doctor said oxygen is provided by the hospital.

At the testing counter, three healthcare workers sat on a bench and advised people on whether they should get tested or not. Among them was a woman, who wanted to get an RT-PCR test because her husband tested positive and she was worried about her one-year-old son. After checking her oxygen levels, which was 99, a healthcare worker explained to her that only people who have low oxygen levels and are very sick should get tested since testing is strained at the moment. She was advised to try a few private labs instead.

At Kailash Hospital in Greater Noida too, a doctor said there are 200 beds – all occupied. Thirty seven of these were ICU beds. The doctor said, “In case a patient is critical, we treat them in the emergency ward till they stabilise and then refer them to other hospitals.”

At the hospital, the daughter of a diabetes and heart patient requested authorities to arrange a bed but was told there are no beds with ventilators.

The hospital was referring patients to either Metro or Sharda hospitals or GIMS. But at Sharda hospital too, an equally grim situation played out with a board at the entrance of the Covid ward reading, “No. of oxygen bed available = 0,” in both Hindi and English. The family of an aged heart patient said they had to wait over three hours to get admitted.

According to the district’s Covid live bed tracking website (gbncovidtracker.in), there are 798 ICU/ventilator beds in the district, all of which are occupied. There are 1,780 functional oxygen beds, with 0 vacancies. And there are 1,136 normal beds, of which 756 are vacant. The data was last updated on May 1 at 1.17 pm.

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