Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) has received a maximum number of self-referred cases (coming by themselves from other Dzongkhags), and very few referred cases in the last six months. Last year, 431 patients were referred from the 20 dzongkhags.
Currently, JDWNRH receives about 30 to 50 patients admitted in the hospital, and around 1,500 patients in Out Patient Department (OPD).
When the first COVID-19 positive case was reported on 6 March, OPD saw only a handful of patients. The admission of patients had also reduced including referral from district hospitals except for those patients who were seriously ill or coming in on emergency cases.
Then slowly the numbers started picking up, and the hospital is getting usual number of patients in OPD, emergency department and the number of patient admitted also has come back to the pre-COVID-19 stage.
Medical Superintendent of JDWNRH, Dr Gosar Pemba, said people will always seek health care in better facilities, but in the present scenario, it would be best for the patient to use health facilities in their places.
The patients should come to JDWNRH only on referral, as there is always the risk of community transmission as many COVID-19 positive patient are asymptomatic and could visit the hospital. But the hospital cannot do anything except for advising people to visit hospital only if it is absolutely necessary.
Dr Gosar also said if everybody utilizes the health facility in their own dzongkhags then JDWNRH would get lesser number of patients visiting the hospital every day. He said that people can visit the district hospital or get most of their treatment done in their nearest community health facilities.
With the increasing number of patients in JDWNRH, doctors have to see more patients. Instead of spending 10 minutes with the patient, doctors now spend around 3 minutes to 5 minutes on each patient. Increasing quantity means the quality of health care goes down. In a day, one doctor attends 50 to 60 patients and sometimes 100 patients, said Dr Gosar.
Medical department in JDWNRH receives the highest number of patients admitted. There are 54 beds in the medical ward. The 54 beds are not enough with the over flowing number of patients. There also 18 beds in ENT, dermatology and eye, although not many patients are admitted in the three wards.
JDWNRH also runs short of inpatient beds and sometimes patients are seen waiting along the corridors. ”We have come back to where we were before COVID-19,” said Dr Gosar.
However, the hospital has always managed the situation. The patients are admitted in the other wards where there is less number of patients, and they are later shifted to medical ward when there are empty beds available.
There are also an increasing number of people looking for cabins. Every day more than 10 patients ask for cabins. Even in the delivery department, the number has been same. Most of the self-referred cases are from the western dzongkhags.