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Delhi Heat Wave Claims 50 Lives Among Underprivileged, Hospitals Overwhelmed

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Over the past 48 hours, the bodies of 50 people from underprivileged backgrounds have been found around Delhi, as the intense heat wave continues to grip the city. Authorities have not confirmed if all deaths are heat-related.

A senior police officer reported that a 55-year-old man’s body was discovered at the children’s park near India Gate on Wednesday. “A post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death,” the officer said.

The Centre for Holistic Development, an NGO aiding the homeless, stated that 192 homeless people died due to the heat wave from June 11 to 19.

Delhi hospitals have seen a surge in heatstroke and heat exhaustion cases, with several deaths in the last two days. The city recorded a maximum temperature of 43.6 degrees Celsius, significantly above normal, while the night temperature was 35.2 degrees Celsius, the highest in June since 1969.

At the Centre-run RML Hospital, 22 patients were admitted in the last two days, with five deaths and 12 to 13 patients on ventilator support. “The victims did not have any comorbidities. When such people arrive, their core body temperature is checked. If it exceeds 105 degrees Fahrenheit and there’s no other cause, they are declared heatstroke patients,” a senior hospital official explained.

RML Hospital has established a specialized heatstroke unit. “The unit uses cooling technology. Patients are placed in ice water baths until their body temperature drops below 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If stable, they are moved to the ward; otherwise, they are put on a ventilator. Most admitted patients are laborers,” the official added.

Safdarjung Hospital received 60 suspected heatstroke patients, admitting 42. Six deaths were reported, including a 60-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man. LNJP Hospital reported four deaths due to suspected heatstroke and admitted 16 patients in the last two days. A 39-year-old motor mechanic died on June 15 while working in Janakpuri.

“Patients often collapse due to dehydration and high fever, which can push body temperatures to 106-107 degrees Fahrenheit,” a senior hospital official noted.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital is seeing 30 to 35 heatstroke cases daily. “These include heat cramps and heat exhaustion,” said Dr. Atul Kakar, chair of the hospital’s Department of Internal Medicine. “This surge highlights the need for public awareness about heat safety, including staying hydrated, seeking shade, and recognizing heat-related distress. Healthcare providers are on high alert to manage and mitigate the impact of rising temperatures.”

The heat wave is also causing an increase in lupus cases, affecting the skin, joints, and kidneys. Dr. Lalit Duggal from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital reported six to 10 new lupus cases, stating, “Lupus primarily affects women of child-bearing age, between 15 and 45.”

Police are receiving multiple calls about unnatural deaths of security guards, beggars, and underprivileged people. “The exact cause of death will be confirmed after post-mortem examinations. However, we are receiving numerous death reports from all districts in Delhi,” a senior police officer said. “We are investigating and have sent the bodies to hospitals for autopsies. Reports are awaited.”

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