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ICU expansion: "Waiting for oxygen pipeline," Dr. Babul Bezbaruah; surgery department likely to open in two weeks

40 ventilators bought using the fund donated to PM Cares, got shipped to Silchar Medical College and Hospital around 10 days back. All the 40 machines will be placed in a new ICU which is under construction. For the time being, the 40-bedded-ICU will be dedicated to COVID patients. At the moment, there are 16 beds in the COVID ICU ward.

“We are waiting for the oxygen pipeline work to be completed. After the oxygen supply is ready, we will test the machines and once everything is okay we will need two days to sanitise them,” informed Principal cum chief superintendent of Silchar Medical College and Hospital Dr. Babul Bezbaruah.

He shared that the construction work is going on in war-footing and in the next five days it should be ready. The plan, Dr. Bezbaruah shares, is to make a 140 bedded COVID Division of which 40 will be equipped ICU and 100 for general patients. “Once we do this, the 16 bedded ICU which is now being used for the COVID patients will get relaxed. A part of the surgery department along with 120 beds has also got included in the COVID zone, which will also get relaxed making life easier for the non-COVID patients,” adds Dr. Bezbaruah.

The influx in symptomatic COVID patients forced the SMCH authority to shut the Surgery department for the general patients. However, emergency surgeries are being performed in the operation theatre of ENT Department. Both Orthopedic and Surgery department’s operation theatres became containment zone because of the current layout of the COVID ward. Once the new COVID block is ready, those wards will get free, says Bezbaruah.

He adds, “If we don’t see another influx in the number of symptomatic patients, we might be able to open the surgery department for non-COVID patients in two weeks. Currently, we are unable to perform general surgeries which we can restart once the department is open.”

Silchar Medical College and Hospital has never received 40 ventilators in one go. This massive shipment enhances the capabilities of SMCH. Now, it all depends on how the experts are trained to use these life-saving machines and how the authority maintains them.

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