Health minister: Most heat stroke deaths in Delhi were due to comorbidities | News from India

Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said on Thursday that almost all of the 14 heatstroke patients who died here had suffered from comorbidities that aggravated their condition.

Bharadwaj visited Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, where he assessed the treatment facilities and interacted with heat stroke patients.

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He also spoke to doctors, stressed the importance of taking preventive measures against heat-related illnesses and instructed them to ensure availability of all necessary amenities.

“According to the information I received, about 310 heat stroke patients were admitted to the hospital in the recent past, of whom 112 have recovered and been able to return home,” the health minister said in a statement during the inspection.

“Almost all of the 14 heat stroke patients who died had pre-existing serious illnesses such as cancer or kidney disease, which worsened their condition and caused them to die,” he added.

Bharadwaj said the Delhi government is closely monitoring the situation and all hospitals have provided adequate medicines and facilities for smooth treatment of heat stroke patients.

“Our aim is to immediately admit any heat stroke patient found to the nearest hospital in Delhi city and start treatment so that their life can be saved,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

Meanwhile, officials said on Thursday that a total of 22 deaths were recorded in Delhi's RML, Safdarjung and LNJP hospitals in the last 24 hours due to suspected heat-related illnesses.

The number of victims and patients due to heat stroke has been rising in the capital's hospitals as the city has struggled under a scorching heatwave in recent days. There was some relief on Thursday morning when light rain fell.

During the inspection of Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, the health minister assessed the hospital's facilities such as medicines, water, electricity and air cooling systems, the press release said.

Bharadwaj urged the public to be cautious amid rising temperatures and said an increase in heat stroke cases has been reported across north India, he added.

Regarding the response measures, he said: “All medicines, injections and ice packs and other equipment are available in sufficient quantities for heat stroke patients in the hospital.”

In addition, appropriate arrangements have been made in the hospital to provide a cool environment for heat stroke patients, he added.

Bharadwaj mentioned that the government has contacted the Delhi Police Commissioner and requested him to help any sick person encountered by the police during night patrols.

Police have been asked to either take the person to hospital or notify the state emergency services for immediate medical attention, he said.

“The Delhi Health Department has directed the CATs Ambulance Services to deploy five ambulances each in 11 different districts of Delhi so that they can immediately take patients suffering from heat stroke to hospitals. Extra caution should be taken near shelter homes and if any such patient is found there, he or she must be immediately taken to hospital,” he added.

The Health Minister appealed to the residents of Delhi, especially those working outdoors such as security guards and labourers, to take precautions against heat exposure.

Bharadwaj cited the case of a security guard recovering at Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital after being exposed to intense heat for two days. He was admitted to the hospital and is now doing better, he added.

Large parts of northern India, including the capital, have been hit by an unbearably prolonged heatwave, increasing the number of victims of heat stroke and prompting the central government to instruct hospitals to set up special wards to care for these patients.

Sybil Alvarez

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