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Delhi hospitals confirm at least 53 lives lost due to intense heatwave

The state administration has officially recognised deaths caused by this year's scorching temperatures for the first time.

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Annesha Barua -- June 21st 2024 12:39 PM
Delhi hospitals confirm at least 53 lives lost due to intense heatwave

Delhi hospitals confirm at least 53 lives lost due to intense heatwave

PTC News Desk: The number of people who have died in Delhi this year's brutal summer has reached at least 53 as of Thursday. The state government and public hospitals have confirmed that scores of people have died from the heat since April, even though the city's overall temperature dropped several degrees the night before due to strong winds.

A harsh summer in which temperatures have mostly remained considerably above normal, even well into the night, has left 15 and 11 more persons dead from heat stress, according to the federal government-run Safdarjung and Ram Manohar Lohia hospitals.

Six and seven heat deaths had been confirmed earlier by the two hospitals, according to various news organisations on Wednesday.

In a related development, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj announced on Thursday that 14 persons have passed away in the Capital in the previous 48 hours due to the heat. However, he did not corroborate the status of 40 heat-related deaths that were recorded between June 11 and June 18 by the state-run Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital.

The state administration has officially recognised deaths brought on by the year's scorching temperatures for the first time. One such fatality at the Lok Nayak hospital, run by the state government, was reported on Wednesday.

Undoubtedly, the elevated temperatures in Delhi are probably responsible for approximately 100 additional fatalities than the present figures indicate, encompassing the 40 deaths at DDU. However, the cause of these deaths won't be established until autopsies verify it.

Furthermore, since many deaths are likely to go unreported and it might be challenging to piece together the exact relationship between temperature and death, the summer death toll may really be much greater than that given by medical facilities.

The number of fatalities in Delhi skyrocketed on the same day that the city ended an unrestricted 11-day heatwave stretch, with the maximum temperature falling from 43.6°C on Wednesday to 40°C on Thursday due to an impending western disturbance.

In addition, the city's run of "warm nights" ended on Wednesday when the minimum temperature fell to 29.6°C from a 55-year high of 35.2°C.

While 26 more patients were admitted to RML Hospital between Wednesday and Thursday, 33 more patients with severe heat-related ailments were admitted to the emergency unit of Safdarjung Hospital, according to officials from both institutions.

Ten sick patients are in Safdarjung, while at least 26 patients are critically ill and on life support at RML.

Safdarjung Hospital expanded its heatstroke ward to include 10 ventilator beds on Thursday in addition to the 13 already there in response to the spike in cases. The eight-bed "disaster ward" at RML was also made available to patients suffering from heatstroke.

"There is a significant patient rush. Patients suffering from heatstroke tend to avoid the emergency room, particularly in the afternoon. In the emergency unit at RML Hospital, multiple teams are working around the clock in shifts, according to medical superintendent Dr. Ajay Shukla.

Unnamed Safdarjung Hospital officials added that the facility was strengthening its infrastructure to manage patients who reported stress connected to the heat.

"With the huge increase in patients, the number of beds needed to be increased significantly." 33 new patients with signs of severe heat-related ailments arrived at the hospital emergency room in the last 24 hours, according to hospital data released on Thursday, he added.

In a press conference on Thursday night, Bharadwaj stated that fourteen individuals in the Capital had perished due to heatwaves in the previous 48 hours. "In the previous 48 hours, almost 310 heatstroke victims were admitted to government hospitals in Delhi; 112 of them have since recovered, and 118 remain hospitalized. There have been fourteen deaths in all, the minister added.

"Nearly all of these 14 already had preexisting conditions like kidney disease or cancer, which made their condition worse," Bhardwaj continued.

"DDU hospital has said the police have brought in several unclaimed bodies," he said, referring to the 40 heat-related deaths at the facility that have been recorded. It is an investigative matter. The postmortem examinations have been ordered in order to determine the cause of death.

Also Read: Delhi Excise Policy Case: Major setback for Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi High Court puts on hold the release order

- With inputs from agencies

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