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Monday, June 14, 2021

Chandigarh: Man dies waiting for ICU bed, wife alleges medical negligence

At around 4.30pm on Sunday, Rajesh took his last breath at emergency ward in GMCH Sector 32 while waiting for an allegedly promised ICU bed, even as his helpless wife, Manju, 30, looked on.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
May 19, 2021 10:36:00 am
Health workers take a Covid-19 patient to a Covid care ward on Tuesday. (Express Photo: Harmeet Sodhi, File)

For 90 minutes, she kept pumping oxygen for her husband, who gasped for breath at GMCH-32 on Sunday. For 90 minutes, she reportedly kept searching for help, for that one doctor or nurse who would rush to her aid and help revive her husband whose laboured breathing continued to slow down every minute. For 90 minutes, her eyes had hope of a miracle even as her husband’s body slowly turned cold, at the emergency ward of GMCH Sector 32.

At around 4.30pm on Sunday, Ram Darbar resident Rajesh took his last breath at emergency ward in GMCH Sector 32 while waiting for an allegedly promised ICU bed, even as his helpless wife, Manju, 30, looked on. Rajesh also had plates in his leg.

On Tuesday, Manju alleged that it is because of the negligence of doctors at the hospital that she had lost her husband. She claimed that her husband was breathing and could even walk comfortably when he was admitted at Government Multi Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16. The chain of events started when he was referred to the other hospital – GMCH Sector 32 — for an ICU bed.

According to Manju, her husband Rajesh, who was Covid positive, was shifted from Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16 to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 via an ambulance for an ICU bed on Sunday afternoon.

“At GMSH 16, he was doing fine. He was just feeling some discomfort whenever the oxygen mask was removed. Later that afternoon, all of a sudden the doctors said that my husband needs an ICU bed. First they asked us to find a ventilator bed ourselves and when I expressed helplessness, they asked us to take him to GMCH 32. They got an ambulance ready without properly telling us that he is being referred. My husband was fine. He wore a new t-shirt and told everybody in the ward that he will be alright soon,” Manju recalled.

As she sat in the ambulance to take her husband to another hospital, things started going wrong. “I was informed by the driver that the cylinder has low oxygen. When I objected to this, I was told that the patient will reach the other hospital quickly and I needn’t worry. By that time, my husband started taking heavy breaths and kept asking for more oxygen. I barely managed to get him off the ambulance and take him to the emergency ward. By the time I could ask the ambulance staff for more help, they had disappeared from the scene,” she added.

When she reached GMCH 32, around 3 pm, she was asked for the patient’s file. She requested the staff to admit him and start treatment as she arranged the file. She said that by this time her husband was gasping for breath and required urgent care.

“But the staff there merely asked to start pumping air mechanically and went away. I kept waiting for the medical staff to return and take my husband to the ICU. I kept pumping air for one and a half hour, even as I kept requesting passing doctors and other staff to come and attend to him. But to no avail. My husband fought till his last breath. He wanted to live for his seven-year-old son. He kept asking for more oxygen till the time I could hear him. If he was provided an ICU bed, he could have been saved,” Manju alleged.

A spokesman of the administration said they had circulated a message in the coordination group to arrange for an ICU bed. “We did circulate message in the group for ICU bed. There is a coordination group of all hospitals. In fact, all ICU beds were full even then the patient was being taken care of. In case a complaint in writing is submitted, we will launch a probe,” the official said.

Director Health Services Dr Amandeep Kang was contacted but she did not respond.

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