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Saturday, May 08, 2021

Driven to despair in Delhi, sick find solace in Tricity

Hamza spent Rs 50k on ambulance to bring his mother here. Of the 297 covid cases receiving treatment at Nehru Extension Block of PGI, only 87 are from Chandigarh.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula |
May 2, 2021 8:22:26 am
Tricity, COVID-19At a hospital in the Tricity. (File)

It has been six days since Aamir Hamza along with his two younger brothers has been camping in the park outside an ICU ward at GMCH-32 as his mother fights for her survival inside. Hamza is one of many such people who have reached Tricity to escape the horrors unfolding at the national capital Delhi.

Having spent almost 10 years in the capital which his father, a skilled labour helped build, Hamza had never thought he would see the day when his 46-year-old mother would need critical care, and would be refused.

“It was almost 11 days back that my mother’s blood pressure suddenly dropped at night. My brother and I, students at JNU and Jamia, hurried home only to see her condition deteriorate,” recounts Hamza. Doctors they consulted over the next few days gave her medications for BP and she felt a little better. “But soon she started feeling breathless.” By the time Hamza managed to buy an oximeter to check her vitals, her oxygen had already dropped to 80.

“We put her in a prone position, sent out several SOS messages but after receiving no response, I rushed around Delhi to find oxygen at midnight.” Travelling over 23 kilometres from Bhajanpura to Rohini in the national capital that reverberated with the sounds of ambulance sirens, Hamza could only arrange a few cans of oxygen for his now flailing mother.

“We went to hospitals nearby but were turned away. At Holy family hospital, by a stroke of sheer luck, my mother was taken into emergency and given a Paracetamol injection and some oxygen. But they told me her situation was critical and she needed to be admitted into an ICU,” says Hamza.

Deciding to take her to any other city with Level 3 beds, Hamza frantically called taxi services and ambulances of the Delhi government, but to no avail. Finally, an ambulance agreed to transport his mother to Chandigarh for a fare of Rs 55,000.”

Hamza is not sure when he reached Chandigarh, “It was either Monday or Tuesday this week,” he says. “I was too panic-stricken to notice. I am sure we left around 12 pm and were dropped right outside the emergency ward of hospital around 6.30 pm.”

Sangeena was first treated in emergency and then taken to the ICU. “At least they gave her oxygen and basic medical attention here. This is a privilege now in Delhi which even privileged are failing to get.”

The past 10 days have been a haze to him. “All I remember is the immense pain of others and myself. Not knowing which one outweighs the other one. Aap dekh nahi sakte esi tasveer hai, itna bhayaanak hai.”

As Delhi runs out of resources, an increasing number of hapless people are making their way to the tricity in the hope of finding succour.
While Mohali and Panchkula officials, including DC Mohali Girish Dayalan and CMO Panchkula Dr Jasjeet Kaur have said that patients are welcome from wherever they come, UT Adviser Manoj Parida has appealed to people not to “choke our hospital infrastructure by inviting friends and relatives from outside for indoor Covid treatment. Our hospital beds are almost full,” he said Thursday.

Of the 297 covid cases receiving treatment at Nehru Extension Block of PGI, only 87 are from Chandigarh.

At least five are from Delhi, 95 from Punjab, 44 from Haryana, 30 from Himachal Pradesh, 14 from Uttar Pradesh, three from Bihar and 19 from other states were being treated at the facility on Thursday.

As per numbers shared by the Panchkula health department on Monday, of the 138 receiving treatment in Panchkula private hospitals, only 46 belonged to the district.

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