Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 9
Covid has taken a toll on cancer patients getting treatment at the IGMC Cancer Hospital, Shimla.
“The disease has progressed among 10 to 15 per cent patients, who could not come to hospital because of the pandemic, especially during the lockdown,” said Head of the Department of Oncology Dr Manish Gupta. “Many people are scared to come to hospital but do not realise that delay in investigations and treatment would result in the spread of the disease,” he said.
Even as some people are reluctant to come to hospital, the workload has increased. “There’s an increase of 20 to 25 per cent patients in the Shimla hospital as the hospitals in Tanda and Nerchowk have been converted into Covid hospitals,” said Dr Gupta. The hospital is finding it difficult to handle the increased workload due to the shortage of staff.
“Many of our doctors, nurses and other staff have tested positive. Besides, the staff are deputed on Covid duties as well. So, more manpower at the moment would have helped,” he said. On an average, the hospital administers radiotherapy to 100 patients and chemotherapy to 35-40 people on a daily basis.
While patients expressed satisfaction with the treatment, they had concerns about accommodation. As against 130-140 patients receiving chemo and radiotherapy on a daily basis, the hospital has just 45 beds. There are some who can afford to make their own arrangements, but those who can’t are put up in a small hall.
“There are normally 30-35 persons in the hall, sometimes even more,” said a patient. In the times of pandemic, 30-40 people huddled in a hall with uncertain Covid status is an open invitation for disaster. “This is the only place we have as staying outside is expensive. We need to stay here for weeks on end,” said another patient.