More than 1,000 discharged patients, belonging to the neighboring states, have been stranded at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) following the lockdown.
Although patients from within Tricity have been offered respite through drop-off services, other patients and their attendants have been not been able to leave for their homes due to the nationwide curfew imposed to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.
While most of these patients have been housed at the sarais or affordable resting houses, along with their attendants, many other patients have been camping wherever they get space at the institute.
“Even though our OPD services are shut and the footfall of new patients have reduced, the number discharged patients who are stranded has made it impossible to limit overcrowding at the hospital,” says a doctor, concerned regarding the potential exposure of COVID-19 to the stranded patients.
As many as 900 patients were discharged on Thursday, however, they were halted due to the curfew. At least a few hundred more patients have been discharged since then, according to an official source.
“We are already in conversation with authorities and hopefully some people will be on their way to their home cities or towns soon. We have spoken to the Punjab government since the majority of the stranded patients are from Punjab. They have assured us that they will do something and facilitate transportation soon,” says Dr Jagat Ram, Director of the Institute.
The director says that he will also approach officials of the Himachal Pradesh and Haryana governments to ensure that all patients are sent home. PGIMER has also begun providing food to stranded patients and their attendants.
“Since they are stuck here for now, we have asked the caterers of the institute to prepare and supply food to the attendants as well, since this is an unprecedented situation and we cannot let them go hungry while they are here,” adds the Director.
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