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Another nurse succumbs: ‘20 years at clinic, she loved babies’

Rajamma worked at Shivaji Maternity Centre, a two-bed clinic, in Tagore Garden for over two decades. Around 10 days ago, she returned home from work and complained of bodyache and cough, said her daughter Divya Madhusudan (29).

Written by Somya Lakhani | New Delhi | June 5, 2020 3:09:31 am
Rajamma died Wednesday

A 67-year-old nurse at a maternity centre in West Delhi died Wednesday, four days after she tested positive for Covid-19.

Rajamma worked at Shivaji Maternity Centre, a two-bed clinic, in Tagore Garden for over two decades. Around 10 days ago, she returned home from work and complained of bodyache and cough, said her daughter Divya Madhusudan (29). “She stopped going to work, and developed fever and severe cough. Last Friday, we got her test done, and on Sunday, the result came positive. By then, she had developed breathing issues,” said Divya.

Rajamma’s niece Shobha, who lives nearby, said she got a call from them Monday about needing help with hospital admission. “Rajamma was sick, so was Divya, who is also a nurse at a hospital nearby. I called police and they sent an ambulance that went to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital first. As no bed was available, Rajamma was taken to Lok Nayak Hospital, where she was admitted,” said Shobha.

Soon after, she was moved to the ICU, and around 1.30 am Wednesday, she passed away. Her daughter said Rajamma was diabetic. As of now, Divya is under home quarantine and is unwell, while her father Madhusudan (68) is also in home quarantine and has displayed no symptoms so far.

Rajamma’s colleague Sunita, who worked with her at the centre for 20 years, said, “She treated patients like family and absolutely loved babies. She would treat them like her own, and patients would leave very happy.”

Dr Ashok Jain, owner of Shivaji Maternity centre, said, “We have two beds in the hospital and three nurses. No patient has been admitted in a month, and we provided masks, gloves and sanitisers to the staff. No PPE was given as we are a clinic only and aren’t treating any patients with Covid-like symptoms.”

Divya said her mother had spoken about the lack of PPEs: “The last day she reported to work, she returned home stressed. She said she had come in contact with a pregnant patient who had fever, cough. After that, she fell sick. I haven’t reported to work in over two months as I had pending leaves.”

Rajamma, who worked at the centre for 20 years, earned around Rs 10,000 a month, said her daughter. She hailed from Kerala’s Kottayam and settled in Delhi around 40 years ago.

As news of Rajamma’s death reached her colleagues, grief and fear set in. Her colleague Sunita (55) said her son won’t let her return to work after he heard about Rajamma’s death. “The centre gave us masks, gloves and a shield too. The centre’s entrance, the furniture were sanitised at regular intervals. We didn’t have PPE kits but we never thought we needed them either,” said Sunita.

On May 24, 46-year-old nursing officer Ambika PK, who worked at Kalra Hospital in West Delhi, had died of Covid-19 complications.

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