“He got his salary today, but what will I do with it now? When he was alive, we faced many hardships… The hospital didn’t even arrange for an ambulance to take him for his last rites. We hired one for around Rs 5,000,” said Ravi (33), whose 53-year-old father Raju, a ward boy at Hindu Rao Hospital, died from Covid-related complications Sunday.
This is the first death at the hospital after it was converted into a 50-bed Covid facility Saturday. The 980-bed hospital is the biggest under the MCD, with a staff of 600 doctors, 350 nurses and 300 allied workers.
The 53-year-old was admitted to the hospital on Friday after complaints of cough and breathlessness. His report came positive on Saturday and he suffered kidney failure on Sunday.
He is survived by his wife and four children. “My father took money on credit. You can imagine what a person goes through when they don’t get paid for months,” said Ravi, on his way to Haridwar with the mortal remains of his father.
Raju’s family said he had been unwell since June 18. “Doctors had given him medicine and asked him to report if he was feeling unwell. His condition deteriorated while he was admitted at the hospital,” said his son.
North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash said he has taken up the issue of the family not being provided an ambulance with the hospital: “This issue was brought before me when I was inspecting the hospital today. The administration has been told that such things should not be repeated. I told them they could have paid from their own pockets if there was a shortage, as it is our duty to help.”
The Director of Press and Information of the North body said a hearse van had been provided to Hindu Rao Hospital by the SDMC. “None of the drivers reported for duty and the van was found to be non-functional, with battery and wiring issues. Hence, the family had to make emergency arrangements. To prevent such unfortunate incidents in the future, arrangements have been made for another hearse van after a discussion with officials,” said the Director.
She said Raju last reported for duty on June 19, and suffered from diabetes and hypertension.
The family is left staring at an uncertain future, with both sons having unstable incomes due to the pandemic. While Ravi works as a cleaner at a hospital, his brother is a sports coach, but out of work at the moment. “I don’t know how life will go on from here. We still have rent to pay,” said Ravi.
So far, 78 healthcare workers have contracted the virus at the hospital. Last week, a lab assistant at the pathology department died of Covid.
Doctors and nurses had recently staged protests over the delay in payment of salaries since April, and the hospital’s “lack of infrastructure” even as it was being turned into a Covid facility.
A senior doctor at the hospital said Raju earned around Rs 35,000 per month.
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