More than 50% of PM Cares ventilators in Karnataka unused | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Even as hospitals in Karnataka grapple with severe shortage of ventilators and oxygen following a huge spike in Covid cases, 1,800 ventilators received from the Centre are lying unused.
Of 3,200 ventilators granted under the PM Cares Fund last year following the first wave, 1,400 have been used so far, according to health department officials. Around 2,000 were received after the first wave and the rest during the recent second wave. Only 150 ventilators were in use till the second wave hit the state, and the government distributed 1,400 ventilators among private and government hospitals only in the past few months.
At the deputy commissioners’ video conference recently, CM BS Yediyurappa directed them to make best use of ventilators supplied under the PM Cares Fund. Deputy CM Ashwath Narayana, after being appointed task force chief, ensured districts made best use of ventilators.
Of the 1,800 ventilators, majority have been lying idle in hospitals for want of skilled staff, including technicians, doctors, anaestheticians and nurses, to operate them. Some have technical defects.
Dearth of trained staff main challenge: Expert
There were certain issues regarding utilisation of new ventilators which are being addressed. While almost all ventilators have been installed, about 10% have technical problems and repair work is going on,” said health department director Dr Patil Om Prakash R.
Health officials said they’re getting reports from districts that several ICU beds with ventilators have been activated in the past couple of days. “We’re making the best use of ventilators supplied under PM Cares Fund. We have used 300 ventilators in government and private hospitals in Mysuru,” said Mysuru deputy commissioner Rohini Sindhuri.
Another deputy commissioner said he received 28 ventilators recently. “They are lying idle since other ICU equipment such as multichannel monitor, infusion and suction pumps and desimulation units were not supplied,” he added.
Ventilators are useless in many hospitals since they don’t have the required ICU cots. Reports from other districts are not encouraging. “We were given 20 ventilators, of which six are dysfunctional,” said Dr S Naveen, principal, Rajarajeshwari Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru.
The main challenge is the dearth of trained staff, according to Dr MK Sudarshan, chairman, Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee. He said there’s an acute shortage of manpower — a ventilator unit needs two doctors, two anaestheticians and three nurses. “Now that DCs have been asked to hire doctors and other staff locally on contract, the situation is improving,” he added.
Narayana said distributing ventilators among private hospitals was to make use of their manpower and infrastructure. “Doctors are critically needed and we’re able to see more admissions into ICU beds with ventilators after taking private hospitals on board,” he added. As on Friday, 599 of the 620 ventilator beds in BBMP limits were occupied. Officials said the list excludes those which have not been used yet.

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Sagar Biswas

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