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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Haryana: Self-medication, ignoring symptoms behind most Covid deaths

While in some cases patients changed multiple hospitals during treatment , in others they were sent home after prescribing medicines only to return with worsened symptoms after which they couldn’t survive for more than 24 hours.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh | August 12, 2020 6:30:35 am
coronavirus, covid 19 update, Coronavirus India update, covid 19 update, unlock diary, unlock 3.0, unlock 3.0 update, unlock 3.0 day 10, Indian expressAt least 297 out of the 455 deaths analysed had comorbidities and 158 were without any underlying comorbidity.

From visiting exorcists to ignoring symptoms for 7-15 days to reaching hospital at a late stage have emerged as some of the major factors that have cost people their lives while battling the coronavirus infection in Haryana.

While in some cases patients changed multiple hospitals during treatment , in others they were sent home after prescribing medicines only to return with worsened symptoms after which they couldn’t survive for more than 24 hours.

The Indian Express has analysed death summary records of 455 patients who lost their lives due to Covid-19 in Haryana till August 5. The most vulnerable group was found to be above 60 years of age. Out of these 455 patients, at least 241 deceased were above 60 years, while three infants (two-day old, three-day old and a month old) also died. In several cases, patients reached hospital due to accidental fall, road accident, gunshot injury etc, tested Covid-positive and could not recover.

At least 297 out of the 455 deaths analysed had comorbidities and 158 were without any underlying comorbidity. Among various other respiratory comorbidities, Diabetes Mellitus Type-II figured as the most common comorbidity in majority of cases. While over 60 patients were suffering from either Diabetes Mellitus Type-II or uncontrolled Diabetes. Similarly, over 77 patients suffered from hypertension, at least 31 had history of kidney disorders, and six were cancer patients. Further, 32 out of 455 had sepsis and 71 suffered from pneumonia.

Amarjeet, a 20-yr-old Rewari district resident, had fever generalised swelling and weakness on June 11. He went to an exorcist at Ram Singhpura Colony and visited a nursing home only on June 17. He was diagnosed with jaundice and referred to Trauma Centre, Civil Hospital, Rewari. He given emergency treatment and was referred to Rohtak’s PGIMS the same night. Besides other treatment, he was subjected to RT-PCR test on June 18 and died the following day at 9 am. His sample tested positive on June 20. The analysis revealed that in several cases, patients kept shifting hospitals and eventually could not survive. A Palwal resident, Yashpal (44), became symptomatic on June 1. Exposure to rain and sleeping in the AC at home deteriorated his condition. He attended the flu OPD on June 2 and was found positive on June 4. On June 2, he faced breathlessness and went to Emergency of Guru Nanak hospital, Palwal.

“He was referred to Escorts Hospital and due to scarcity of beds, he was again referred to QRG hospital, Faridabad and admitted there. He was a chronic alcoholic. He was kept on ventilator support. His family then took him to Safdarjung hospital, Delhi on June 11. His condition deteriorated and he was declared dead at 4 am on June 12 in Safdarjung hospital,” his death summary reads.

There are also several cases, in which patients kept taking treatment from private practitioners or nursing homes for the fever considering it could be a normal fever and delayed testing for coronavirus. A Karnal resident, Ramkishan (67), had fever for seven days and “kept taking private treatment for typhoid from some RMP (registered medical practitioner) at Gharaunda,” his death summary reads.

On June 15, he felt breathless, was taken to Kalpana Chawla Medical College on the morning of June 16. He was also suffering from uncontrolled Diabetes Mellitus Type-II. He was declared Covid-positive on June 17, put on ventilator support and died the same day.

Similarly, a Faridabad-resident Raju (50) with history of Diabetes Mellitus Type-II, had fever and breathlessness for 15 days. He only went to hospital on June 17 and died on June 21.

Self-medication also proved disastrous in several cases. A Sonipat resident Ramesh (62), got fever on June 20. He kept taking paracetamol from a local medical store. After 2-3 days, developed breathlessness. His son took him to hospital on June 22 and Ramesh’s sample was taken. He was given cough syrup and paracetamol and sent home. On June 23, his sample tested positive and the next day, he died.

A Sonipat resident, Rajkumar (45), developed fever and skin rashes on July 12. He was alone at his residence and kept waiting for a relative to arrive. On July 14, he was taken to a private clinic in Kundli. He was diagnosed with dengue and given medication. On July 20, his condition deteriorated. He was taken to FIMS hospital, Sonipat at 12 noon and was advised a Covid-19 test. At around 1 pm, he was brought to Civil Hospital, Sonipat in Emergency department. His Covid test was done with Rapid Antigen kit. He tested positive and was admitted, but died at 2.30 pm.

In another case, a Sonipat resident Ram Singh (57) was an alcoholic. On July 18 at around 9 pm, he vomited blood. His family took him to a local doctor who gave him medicines. Next morning, Ram Singh vomited again. He was taken to SDH, Gohana where he was given preliminary treatment and referred to BPS Khanpur Medical College in an ambulance. He was given some injections, medicines at BPS Khanpur where his condition deteriorated, and was further referred to Rohtak PGIMS as BPS was a dedicated Covid centre and Ram Singh was not Covid positive. It was at 5.30 pm on July 19 when Ram Singh reached Rohtak’s PGIMS that his Covid test was performed. Two days later, his report came positive and he died on July 22. Doctors ruled that he died due to liver damage.

Of these 455 patients whose records were analysed by The Indian Express, maximum 137 died in Faridabad while Gurgaon reported 125 deaths, Sonipat (33), Rewari (8), Ambala (17), Rohtak (24), Panipat (19), Karnal (12), Hisar (10), Palwal (9), Jhajjar (12), Mahendragarh (1), Bhiwani (6), Panchkula (3), Nuh (12), Kurukshetra (8), Sirsa (7), Fatehabad (3), Yamunanagar (3), Jind (5) and Charkhi Dadri (1).

“In most of the cases, it is seen that the patient has reached hospital at almost last stages. Even then, the doctors ensured the best possible medical treatment. Still, in certain cases the patients who had multiple comorbidities could not be saved. But, on the contrary there are also thousands of patients who were saved by the doctors and recovered. Our recovery rate has been increasing almost on a daily basis. We are consistently maintaining it above 80 per cent for the last many days now and hope to improve it further,” said Rajeev Arora, Haryana’s Additional Chief Secretary (Health).


Death summary records of 455 patients analysed

241 deceased (52.9%) were above 60 years of age

297 (65.2%) had comorbidities, 158 were without them

60 suffered from diabetes

77 deceased had hypertension

31 had kidney disorders

71 suffered from pneumonia

Self-medication, reaching hospital late, changing multiple hospitals led to deaths

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