In trying times such as this, people turn to their elected leaders, the civic bodies and state governments for help. But the deadly second wave of COVID-19 has left no stone unturned in rendering all efforts useless. Bengaluru, which has emerged as a COVID hotbed, is grappling with record-high cases and a mismanaged system that is resulting in many deaths. BBMP, the city's civic body, is on the receiving end of strong criticism over the issue of bed allocation.
In order to get a government bed under BBMP, an SRF number is required, which is provided in the COVID positive RT-PCR report. Using the SRF number, a BU number is created, which helps the government and BBMP identify the patient and have all details in one place.
But due to the new strain of COVID, many patients test negative despite having the symptoms, which include dangerously low SpO2 levels. In such cases, there is no SRF number, and naturally no BU number, so the government doesn't take such patients for admission.
Since the patients require hospital care, an order was passed allowing hospitals to create their own "patient number" or P number before taking the patient in for treatment under the existing arrangements. After much deliberation, the state government order in this regard was released on April 28, but the execution of the same on grassroot level is still missing.
But if the patient has to go through BBMP by calling either 1912 or 108, they can't do that. The concept of patient number is new to the COVID war room that is set up by the civic body.
Grassroot execution missing
This is a major procedural loophole. Even though the government is releasing such orders, there is no implementation on the grassroot level, which has left patients without a proper system to rely on in case of emergencies. As a result of this, COVID patients are dying, and the accountability of those deaths is missing.
People are DYING!
Due to the lack of SRF/BU numbers, patients are not getting the help they need. As a result of this, many patients have died. A 40-year-old woman from Bengaluru passed away due to COVID. But when needed, she was unable to get admission in the hospital as she had no SRF or BU number. Many such issues have come in recent days, where patients are denied hospital admission due to the red tape hurdles.
In another incident, a COVID-19 patient died as a result of a delay in RT-PCR test, which is essential to fetch a BU number. "We got a chest CT scan done, which clearly indicated COVID-19. But no BU number had been generated, since the RT-PCR result was delayed. We had to run from pillar to post to get him admitted in a hospital. After much struggle, we admitted him in the emergency ward of a hospital, but it took another two days to get an ICU bed," the patient's brother said, according to The Hindu. Two days later, he died.
BBMP COVID war room scam
Amidst all this tragedy, a BBMP COVID war room scam was unearthed. Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru, Kamal Pant, IPS, revealed that a case has been registered against two individuals for being allegedly involved in blocking beds on the BBMP portal, which were then given to patients in exchange for money. The accused have been booked in Jayanagar police station. The Bengaluru Crime Branch is investigating the case.