We have to be prepared for pandemics in future: Dr. G. S. Rao, Managing Director, Yashoda Hospitals – ET HealthWorld


Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Dr G. S. Rao, Managing Director, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, to know more about the impact on Covid-19 on hospitals and how they coped with the pandemic.

Covid-19: Impact on Hospitals
Covid pandemic that had an effect worldwide, has also affected hospitals.There was a huge rush of covid patients when there was a peak, and after that, though Covid has come down drastically, people without Covid were afraid to come to the hospital for other diseases and treatments like Hernia, Fistulas and other ailments.

We were tackling emergencies, but people did not come to the hospital for normal cases like blood sugar, heart problems, which affected not only the hospitals but also the society in general. And probably that is now slowly coming to a near to normal situation. The pandemic situation is neither the first one or the last one. These things will go on coming in this lifetime, we have to be prepared. First and foremost, we have to have an area, like the emergency unit which is meant only for the pandemic and transporting these patients to a secluded and an isolation areas.

We have invested in a lot of equipment like ventilators and other emergency equipment as a standby and it really helped with the pandemic, because we had sometime between Delhi and Hyderabad. Now, because we have quite some time for the next hit of the pandemic, some reserves of equipment, manpower, infrastructural changes are being done in all our 3 Hospitals in Hyderabad.

Covid-19: Care at Yashoda Hospitals
In the Covid period, we increased our diagnostics capabilities in testing facilities for Covid, gene sequencing and others. We have invested a lot on the Pulmonology specialty. A lot of new technology has come for Pulmonology and we have one of the best Pulmonology doctors in the city, who are always ready for the Covid situation. We have also invested heavily on Intensivists, because a lot of cases went into intensive care units. We were able to salvage them without putting them on ventilators.

The moment the government relaxed the norms on taking care of Covid patients, and allowed the private sector, the immediate and the first thing we did was social distancing. Because in hospitals, as you are aware, each patient tends to have 2-3 attendants, we stopped this. We ensured social distance, hand-washing and wearing masks.

For a 100% compliance, we ensured almost a strict military style discipline for all our staff and patients who were coming to our organisation. It was a little difficult for our security people to enforce this, but we have done this, and there was no untoward instance as far as that was concerned. It helped us a lot, because the pandemic came here about a month after New York and probably Delhi. And we were ready with the protocols and on time.

We made a difference and it can be contributed to triaging, which is to categorise patients by 3 priorities. First is for General patients- who do not require much intervention, we put them in the rooms. Second, for patients who were not serious, but required only oxygen. Third, for extremely serious patients in the ICU’s. It was very difficult for us, because huge numbers used to come to us, around 150 ventilators were run by the Yashoda Group itself. Whereas in totality 300 ventilators were used in our State of Telangana. We really took care of all our serious patients who came to us. We consoled them, educated the patients and staff, while making our staff ready with protocols of PPE kits, masks, hand wash etc.

Protocols were changing constantly, our understanding of Covid developed over time. We also reduced the drugs and the stay of the patients, though patients were not willing to leave the hospital. We told them that we will take care of them even when they are at home, via Telemedicine, so that we can connect with them when they are at home also. We tied up with a lot of hotels, and sent the patients who were alright to these hotels for quarantine. So that is how we could manage.

Yashoda Hospitals: Journey So far
Yashoda Hospitals started in December, 1989. It was named after my mother, because we feel that she has really sacrificed her whole comfort and life for us, to develop our life.

We started as a very small nursing home with 100 beds in Somajiguda. Then we expanded into another area called Malakpet, that is the old city, and we built a very big hospital there. Then we went back and redeveloped and expanded our initial hospital in Somajiguda. After that, we again established another hospital in Secunderabad.

All put together we became 2000 beds and we are one of the largest chain of Hospitals in Hyderabad. And I am sure we have one of the best medical doctors and staff with us

Yashoda Hospitals: Incorporating Technology
In the initial phases we started a 100 bed Hospital as a nursing home, not with technology. But over a period of time, we understood that we would like to be a Tertiary care hospital, with all the equipments available in Neurology, Cardiology, etc. For example, there is a 3T Intraoperative MRI, and we are the first in the southern region of India to start this equipment for Neurosurgery. When a doctor is doing the surgery, we can take an MRI which is within the Operation theatre itself and then we send the patient once the surgery is complete. If the surgery is not complete, the MRI scan can be continued till the surgery is complete. For Pulmonology, I am very very proud that every equipment available in the world is available with us. Because we knew Pulmonology is one which is going to develop heavily similar to Cardiology. Cardiology also, everything that is available in the world, we have it. Pulmonology is a developing speciality, presently. And we have invested a lot, and we are reaping the benefits of it.

We are also reaping the confidence of patients with a lot of Pulmonology cases. We are doing Lung transplants for Covid patients, where in extreme cases, for instance even when there is fibrosis of lungs. We have also done quite a few lung, heart and liver transplants. This all improves and challenges our management and the skill of our doctors continuously.

Covid-19: Vaccine rollout
For this vaccine roll out, the vaccines are sent by the government and we are facilitating in all our 3 hospitals, to all our staff and some of the other hospitals. We are observing, we are taking care, addressing issues if any, and then talking to them, and checking whether they have any adverse effects in the future, and that is the important thing.

And immediately also, if there is any effect like fever or probably some headache, we try to console and treat them. But so far there is no question of any adverse effect that has occurred. But we have to observe at least for a few months to come to a conclusion. And as part of sampling, we also want to see how many people will develop antibodies which can protect them from Covid-19.

Yashoda Hospitals: Future plans
As of now, our expansion plan is for another Hospital in another part of the city. Because the city is expanding, this is a twin city. In Secunderabad we have one hospital, old city we have one, central city we have one, and now we will soon have a hospital in the new city which is coming up, where the IT sector is developing a lot in Hi-Tech city. A lot of the population is moving to that side. We are building this hospital which will be of 20 lakh square feet area. It is now being built. And it will be one of the largest Hospitals in the country. And we are planning to have around 2000 beds capacity.





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