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Former Doordarshan DG loses husband, mother to Covid; family says turned away at several hospitals

Both were declared Covid positive after their death in a Malviya Nagar government hospital on April 27, Datta said on Tuesday while recounting her trauma in a Twitter post.

Written by Ashna Butani | New Delhi |
Updated: May 4, 2021 7:19:46 am
Archana DattaArchana Datta (Twitter/@ArchanaDatta54)

Unable to get a bed in numerous hospitals in Delhi, former Doordarshan Director General Archana Datta’s husband and mother, both of whom had Covid, died in a span of hours between April 27 and April 28.

“Many people like me perhaps thought that it couldn’t happen to them. But, it did happen. My mother and husband, both, died without any treatment. We failed to have access to all top notch Delhi hospitals we used to visit. Yes, after death they declared Covid positive,” she tweeted on May 3.

Her husband, A R Datta, was 69 and her mother Bani Mukherjee was 90.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Archana’s son Abhishek Datta (32) said they had been turned away by a number of hospitals on Tuesday.

“My father had mild symptoms the weekend before. It worsened in the span of 48 hours. When it did, we rushed him to Max Saket where we tried both the Covid emergency and non-Covid emergency ward. After that, we went to PSRI. In the middle we also stopped at Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital to see if we could get emergency treatment but we could not get him admitted to any of these places,” he said.

As he ferried his father in the car, Abhishek said his oxygen levels were 40 and dipping. The family took two personal vehicles as they could not get an ambulance, he said. Abhishek said his father eventually lost consciousness and was declared dead on arrival at Pt Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital in the afternoon.

Later in the day, his grandmother’s condition deteriorated, he said. She was first taken to National Heart Institute since she was a heart patient and they knew her history. There, too, the hospital said she could not be admitted, the family said.

“Ironically, we ended up in the same hospital where my father was declared dead hours ago. And she too was declared dead on arrival,” Abhishek said. Her oxygen levels were around 50 while on oxygen support, he said.

Currently, Abhishek, Archana, her daughter and her sister have Covid. “We are monitoring our health at home and doing whatever we can indoors. If you step out to go to hospitals, you essentially step out to die… even though doctors and nurses are very dedicated, they can only do so much if they are stretched for resources. It is a complete collapse of the healthcare system,” Abhishek said.

Speaking to PTI, Archana, a retired Indian Information Services officer, said: “I have not been able to grieve for my mother and husband.

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My niece is low on oxygen and my son has to run around for oxygen cylinders. We do not want to risk her life as we know that every hospital will turn us down.”

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