Beds and Delhi: Heartbreaking stories debunk Arvind Kejriwal's claims
As coronavirus cases continue to surge in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wants residents to trust the government. He has repeatedly said Delhi won't become the next New York as it's four steps ahead in this battle. But with people dying daily, mostly due to inadequate facilities, it's hard to digest his words at face value. The following stories show Delhi is a mess.
Just this week, Kejriwal declared over 4,000 beds were still vacant while ordering that hospitals can't turn away patients. In case they are out of beds, it's their responsibility to send them to another facility. He launched an app titled "Delhi Corona" as well, to tell residents about beds' availability. These steps looked good on paper. That's where they remained restricted.
On Thursday, a Twitter user, Amarpreet Kaur, made an impassioned appeal on the platform saying her father, who is a coronavirus patient, needs immediate assistance. Standing outside the Lok Nayak Hospital, she said the state-run facility wasn't admitting him, despite him having high fever and breathlessness. An hour later, she informed that he passed away. "The government failed us," she wrote.
He is no more. The govt failed us. https://t.co/uFJef9JxSA— Amarpreet (@amar_hrhelpdesk) June 4, 2020
After losing her father, Kaur struggled to get other family members tested for coronavirus. "We are trying since morning. My mother, brother, his wife, and two kids. Pls help. (sic)," the bereaved daughter made another appeal on Twitter.
After Kaur's father's sad demise, her husband Mandeep Singh wrote a verbose article for HuffPost, explaining that Thursday's incidents were just the tip of the iceberg. Singh said the 67-year-old asthmatic patient first fell ill on May 26. The family took an online consultation, and three days later, medicines were prescribed. The doctor suggested taking the COVID-19 test if fever persists.
On May 31, he was tested for coronavirus at Ganga Ram Hospital. A day later, the family learned he had contracted the infection. Despite assuring the family, Ganga Ram Hospital didn't contact the family after the patient tested positive. The hospital didn't even reply to the innumerable calls of the family. Frustrated, the family approached hospitals like Max, Apollo, AIIMS, and Safdarjung.
With the help of doctors they knew, the family gave him medication. In the meantime, the government's helplines remained unresponsive. On June 3, when his temperature soared, the family made another round of calls to hospitals, only to hear that beds weren't available. The family reached Lok Nayak Hospital and were told they should have taken him to Ganga Ram, where he was diagnosed.
The family ran to the first doctor they saw at Lok Nayak, fell on his feet, requesting help. The doctor said oxygen was needed immediately. "He (the patient) was then put on oxygen. Fifteen minutes later, he was dead," Singh wrote.
Just like Singh and Kaur, another family too lost their loved one, after being turned away by several hospitals in Delhi. The patient, Salman Sulemani, 26, passed away in AIIMS, Rishikesh. His father Rashid told News18, Salman had breathing problems since Friday. They went to Malviya Nagar Hospital and were told they "shouldn't worry". A day later, Salman was taken to Max Hospital.
After initially announcing a cost of Rs. 15,000 per day, Max said they didn't have adequate facilities. Thereafter, Salman's family took him to Batra Hospital (where they were told coronavirus treatment will cost Rs. 6 lakh), they then went to RML Hospital, where they were advised to take him to AIIMS or Safdarjung. And Lok Nayak Hospital said it lacked facilities.
Delhi's lack of preparedness was revealed once again when an 80-year-old had to approach Delhi High Court seeking directions for the state government to get him a bed, with a ventilator facility, at a public hospital. The elderly belonged to the BPL category and couldn't afford exorbitant rates of private facilities. His plea was listed for today. Coronavirus took his life yesterday.
Meanwhile, Inder Bajaj, whose diabetic mother complained of breathlessness on Thursday, failed to get her admitted to four hospitals in Delhi. St Stephens Hospital and RML Hospital said they didn't have beds, Lady Hardinge Hospital said they didn't have oxygen supplies, and Lok Nayak Hospital refused to take her in without COVID-19 test. She wasn't tested despite being unwell for several days.
Not only is Delhi not providing beds for the critically-ill, but it's not even getting tests done, despite proactiveness shown by possible patients. A resident of Rohini, Varun Vats, wrote on Facebook his cousin tested positive on June 1. Since then, he has been trying to get himself tested but most of the labs informed the process is suspended for "some days".
At 25,004 cases, 659 people have died in Delhi, making its death rate worse than Tamil Nadu, where 223 died after 27,256 cases. Earlier, Kejriwal closed borders with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana arguing that the city's hospitals have to be protected from overwork. He also wants Delhiites to trust him, but these stories show the government has actually abandoned its citizens.