Covid-19: Fear of stigma is pushing up deaths in Karnataka, say experts | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Having reported at least seven deaths on each of the last three days, Karnataka’s Covid-19 toll has touched 114 with Bengaluru alone accounting for 51 (45%) fatalities.
Experts say fear of disruption, stigma and quarantine for the entire family is leading to late presentation of cases becoming a non-clinical cause of mortality. Comorbidities and late referrals too are major concerns, they add.
A 23-year-old man, Bengaluru’s youngest Covid-19 fatality, declined to stay in the ICU of Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital on June 9 when he was referred from a private hospital and subjected to Covid-19 test. He got discharged against medical advice. Once the test result was out, he was traced and rushed to the Trauma Care Centre only to be declared brought dead.
“The man had refused to stay in hospital, unwilling to accept that he was a Covid-19 suspect though he was struggling to breathe,” doctors who treated him told TOI.
“Sadly, society has instilled fear among genuine patients who need immediate medical attention. They seek help when the lungs are largely affected and breathing issues arise. Efforts to create awareness have led to fear. This is pathetic,” said an expert working in the government’s Covid-19 technical committee.
Delay in fever clinics referring cases for testing and later to dedicated hospitals is complicating things, said Dr CR Jayanthi, dean and director of Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute.
She said at least in 15 fatalities at BMCRI’s Covid-19 facilities, the presentation was late. “The patients came on ventilators from other hospitals and died here. Shifting and referrals are also causing delay. Their first visit to a hospital itself may have been quite late. By the time they are shifted here, many are already on ventilator. Ideally, patients on ventilator must continue to be treated at the referring hospitals. There are chances they could have developed septicemia, which is the worst form of Covid-19 pneumonia,” said Dr Jayanthi.
Multiple comorbidities
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Most of the dying patients have had multiple comorbidities like HIV, hepatitis B, cancer and multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells), which only worsen the viral infection, Dr Jayanthi said. Currently, there are nine Covid-19 patients on dialysis at BMCRI’s Trauma Care Centre. The government recently directed private hospitals to continue treating Influenza Like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) cases turning positive for Covid-19, saying that shifting them to designated hospitals was leading to interruption and delay in treatment and contributing to increased mortalities.



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Sagar Biswas

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