Portable cinema becomes 40-bed medical facility with oxygen for Delhi hospital

A mobile digital movie theatre chain is pitching in with a top hospital group to set up a makeshift medical facility for the Covid-afflicted in the Capital, at a time when hospital beds are becoming increasingly scarce.

The portable cinema company, Picturetime Digiplex, has used its inflatable, expandable and foldable enclosures to deploy 40 beds with oxygen facility at Apollo Hospital, Delhi, within 72 hours.

The inflatable enclosures are normally makeshift cinema halls that can be folded and carried off from one place to another, and the concept has been gaining popularity over the past few years. However, with the cinema business paralysed by pandemic, the owners of Picturetime decided to put the concept to noble use, and set up makeshift medical facilities that can be rapidly deployed whenever and wherever needed.

Sushil Chaudhary, CEO and founder Picturetime Digiplex told IANS: “A hospital that is oxygen and bed-ready, with the basic medicines, is the need of the hour. I would create a smaller 40-bed facility with an oxygen plant at the block level and be ready to fight the pandemic from every small town or tehsil or small places near cosmopolitans, and go deeper. Ideally, every block should have an extra infrastructure in terms of a medical facility next to the existing government health facility.”

Authorities at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, on their part, feel such an infrastructural aid can always boost the fight against Covid.

“The innovative technology offered by Picturetime helped create a 40-bed medical unit in under a week that is equipped to take care of varying grades of patients of Covid-19. We are now ready to offer this facility for our patients just when the need is being felt the most,” Dr. Karan Thakur, Vice President (Operations), Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals told IANS.

“With Covid-19 second strain spreading at an alarming rate, our medical resources are on the verge of collapse. As a mobile digital movie theatre company, our aim is to provide entertainment but looking at the current state of affairs, we had to come up with something that would help save people’s lives. We hope this brings some respite and be of help in these dark times,” Chaudhary told the media.

He added that the digiplex chain is ready to help other hospitals all over India by transforming their inflatable cine-properties into medical facilities and mobile field hospitals.

In fact, Chaudhary noted how the company had similarly collaborated with Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai last year.

“We worked on field hospitals last year with Tata Memorial, Mumbai, and we had then discussed the details with the Apollo Administration. Apollo reached out to us if we could set up the facility in 48 hours. We took up the challenge and delivered it in 72 hours.

Chaudhary said they now plan to expand the idea to aid the military. “We are also working on field hospitals for the Indian Army,” he said.

“This just seems to be the beginning and at what rate would this virus further spread, one doesn’t have a definite answer but the only way to fight is to create a minimum health infrastructure to fight this pandemic and create a support system as soon as possible,” he summed up the current situation.