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Friday, May 14, 2021

In Delhi, a scramble for hospital beds

Among those who faced the crisis was Pankaj Agarwal, who works at Royal Bank of Scotland. He said his elder brother Manish (43) needs a bed with oxygen since his saturation level dropped to 82.

Written by Jignasa Sinha | New Delhi |
Updated: April 16, 2021 7:33:10 pm
Healthcare workers prepare beds at the Shehnai Banquet Hall in New Delhi, which has been temporarily converted into a Covid-19 ward. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

The escalating Covid situation in Delhi has led to a severe paucity of beds in private and government hospitals, forcing families of patients to shuffle between hospitals and put out pleas for help on social media.

Among those who faced the crisis was Pankaj Agarwal, who works at Royal Bank of Scotland. He said his elder brother Manish (43) needs a bed with oxygen since his saturation level dropped to 82.

“We have been calling and visiting hospitals since morning. More than nine hospitals told us they can’t admit Manish because we don’t have an RT-PCR test result yet and they don’t have a bed. My brother has high fever and we got an RT-PCR done on Wednesday but the report is still not in,” said Pankaj.

Meraj Ansari (28), who works for a merchandiser in Delhi and lives with his parents and younger brother in Sangam Vihar, tested positive earlier this week. Now, his entire family has Covid symptoms.

Said his father Mukhtar: “All four of us have Covid symptoms; Meraj has tested positive. We thought he could be shifted to Holy Family Hospital but the crowd outside was huge and they didn’t let us enter. We showed them the positive report but they told us to look somewhere else. I am old and don’t know how to help my son. I don’t know which hospitals will take him in and which won’t.”

The family said they called and visited Jamia Hamdard institute, Lok Nayak Hospital and Batra Hospital but in vain.

In Greater Kailash-2, a 62-year-old retired government servant’s family said they are looking for an ICU bed. The man’s nephew, who did not wish to be named, said, “My uncle is 62 and his oxygen level has dropped to 80. It’s been three days and he has a high fever. We admitted him to Max Hospital in Saket today but they don’t have an ICU bed available.”

Bihar resident Tabassum Hoda (56) shifted to Delhi four months ago to get medical treatment from AIIMS. “He has a kidney ailment and needs dialysis. His wife and children shifted with him. On Monday, he was admitted to Al Shifa Hospital after he complained of breathlessness and eventually tested positive for Covid. We are calling doctors in Delhi to admit him but nobody is taking him in. We spoke to AIIMS and thought they would admit him because he is getting treatment from there, but they refused. Al Shifa doctors said they don’t have Covid facility,” said Dr Eqbal Hassan, a physician from Bihar and Hoda’s cousin.

The family said they tried getting Hoda admitted to GTB, Lok Nayak and Safdarjung Hospital but were unsuccessful.

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