Dubai's private hospitals join fight against rising Covid-19 cases

Privately run facilities are dedicating hundreds of beds for patients in need of oxygen and ventilators

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Private hospitals are joining the fight to contain the second wave of coronavirus cases, with special isolation wards now dedicated to treating infected patients.

It is a similar approach to the onset of the pandemic last March, when private hospitals stepped in to help government facilities as diagnosed cases began to increase.

As new patients are admitted, hundreds are treated and discharged daily.

In one Dubai hospital, 60 beds are being set aside to treat the specific needs of those with Covid-19. These were 75 per cent full on Saturday.

Let us hope and pray that this surge is temporary and that there is light at the end of the tunnel

Another facility in the emirate had 40 of its 110 beds occupied on a special ward.

“At NMC Royal Hospital in Dubai Investments Park, we have received a mandate from the health authority to receive and treat all the Covid-19 patients coming to the facility,” said Dr Santosh Kumar Sharma, medical director.

“This is as directed by the command centre and the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services.

"Out of 60 licensed beds, we have 45 confirmed cases of Covid-19, of which nine are critical and 10 severe. The rest are moderate cases.

"Of our beds, 75 per cent are occupied and that is increasing now."

Dr Sharma said NMC Speciality Hospital in Al Nahda also had more than 40 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 110 beds set aside in a special isolation ward.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , April 26– 2020 :- Dr. Adel Alsisi, Consultant Critical Care Medicine, Chief Medical Officer, Prime Hospital wearing PPE kit (left) monitoring the situation of COVID-19 patient at the isolation ICU ward at the Prime Hospital on airport road in Al Garhoud in Dubai . (Pawan Singh / The National) For News/Standalone/Online/Instagram/Stock.  Story by Nick Webster

On Saturday, 3,647 new cases of coronavirus were reported, a slight drop after a three-week rise from 1,000 cases to almost 4,000 per day.

Most facilities have begun to admit Covid-19 patients again to cope with the increased demand for beds.

“While many government and private facilities were declared Covid-free after the crisis last year, we are now seeing a surge in the number of patients needing hospital care,” said Dr Rajesh Nambiar, medical director at International Modern Hospital in Mankhool, Dubai.

The challenge that the health sector now faces is the treatment for other non-Covid patients needing hospital care.

“Let us hope and pray that this surge is temporary and that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Doctors said advanced preparations and the experience of effective treatments during the first wave of infections in March was leading to positive outcomes for patients.

“Our dedicated teams have been receiving patients with a range of symptoms considered from moderate to severe and also critical,” said Dr Adel Al Sisi, chief medical officer at Prime Hospital, Dubai.

“We are now full, with all our special rooms occupied with Covid-19 patients who need oxygen supplementation or medication as per the national and international protocols.”

On Saturday, the hospital had 25 patients being treated for  coronavirus in the ward, and a further five receiving intensive care.

Two seriously ill patients were admitted to isolation rooms.

“All the patients are responding to treatment, improving and some have already been discharged,” Dr Al Sisi said.

“It is a dynamic process, in all government and private hospitals.

“The UAE was ready and expected the new variant, so we were fully prepared.”

Many hospitals have been modified to separate Covid-19 patients from those seeking regular care for everyday ailments to reduce infection risk.

“All necessary safety measures have been taken to avoid the risks of spreading infection within the hospitals,” said Dr Nabil Debouni, group medical director at VPS Healthcare.

“Our protocol has been established in such a way that it doesn’t affect the normal functioning of the hospital.”

This begins with monitoring the temperature of the patient at the entrance and performing a quick triage.

Suspected Covid-19 sufferers are then taken to a doctor’s room through a special pathway. Separate areas have been designated for admitting potentially infected patients and all dedicated coronavirus rooms have negative pressure to limit further infections.

“Our doctors and nurses are highly efficient and fully-equipped to tackle the situation,” Dr Debouni said.

“We have always supported the UAE government in fighting the pandemic and will continue to extend our complete support.”