ICU isn't good: Journalist's final message shows infrastructure is crippling
33-year-old D Manoj Kumar is one of the youngest people to have died due to fatal COVID-19 this month. A journalist by profession, he was undergoing treatment at state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, Telangana, and passed away on June 7. Hours before his demise, he texted his elder brother Sainath saying the facilities were improper and requested to be shifted to a private hospital.
Sainath, who also tested positive for coronavirus, told The News Minute everything that his brother went through. It was on June 3 around 11 am, when Manoj complained of fever and was taken to a local hospital. At 3 pm, the brothers were tested for coronavirus. A little after 10 at night, they got a call informing that the results were positive.
Thereafter, the brothers were referred to Gandhi Hospital. Around 1 am, after completing all the formalities, they were taken to one ward on the seventh floor. "Since the time we stepped into the ward, there were no proper facilities. No one took responsibility to give information to patients," Sainath alleged. All they were given was a bedsheet, a soap bar, and some multivitamin tablets.
Sainath recalled Manoj had difficulty breathing the same night. When he stepped out to inform someone, he only saw sanitation staff in the corridor. They advised him against leaving the premises. In the early hours of June 4, Manoj's condition dipped. Sainath said he was agitated. He contacted some of his brother's journalist friends in hopes of pressurizing the hospital to treat him.
A couple of calls to the superintendent later, the hospital said they would shift him to the ICU. But when that didn't happen after four hours, Sainath asked questions again. "They said that the ICU doesn't have enough beds. I asked if they could place the (oxygen) cylinder in the ward itself and they said that even that is not available," he said.
Around 4 pm on June 4, Manoj was taken out of the ward. He remained in a wheelchair for 1.5 hours. Around the same time, Manoj texted Sainath saying that the ICU situation isn't good and he should be treated at a private hospital. "No one is taking care here," he wrote. After his friends' intervention, the hospital took him to an isolation ward.
"Today (June 7) morning at around 9.30 am, I got a call that he is critical and being shifted to a ventilator. Within a little while, I got a call from the police department that my brother had died," Sainath added.
Manoj had just gotten married in September 2019 and leaves behind a pregnant wife. He was also taking care of his sister's child after she passed away a few years ago. Gandhi Hospital's Superintendent Raja Rao said Manoj was a patient of Myasthenia Gravis, a disease where muscles including respiratory ones, become weak. He said a team of physicians, anesthetists, and pulmonologists treated him.
"With these comorbidities, he became COVID-19 positive and had bilateral pneumonia with type-1 respiratory failure and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). We tried our best but he couldn't be revived," Rao told the daily.