A Thane couple succumbed to Covid-19 within four days of each other. Shabana Banu (43) died on June 26, four days after her husband Usman Badshah Shaikh’s death in Kalsekar hospital in Kausa. Their family claims when they refused to take away her body suspecting medical negligence, the hospital offered them Rs 5,000.
The couple suffered from low oxygen saturation levels. The hospital has been facing issues with regular oxygen supply since several days. On Monday, it was forced to cut down bed strength from 126 to 70 to compensate for lack of oxygen. Most Covid-19 patients require high pressure oxygen support.
The couple’s 17-year-old son, who was in Pune since the lockdown began in March, returned after his father’s death on June 22. “He has gone silent. Suddenly he has no one in the house,” said Saima Shaikh, his cousin. The elder sister is married in Pune.Shabana had no comorbidity. “Even after her husband’s death she asked us to be patient. She wanted to get fine for her children, she was fighting hard,” Saima said.
The first to fall ill was Shaikh, a heart patient and diabetic. He tested positive for Covid-19 on June 17 with body pain and cold. He was shifted from Bilal hospital to Kalsekar hospital, the only dedicated Covid hospital in Kausa. Doctors informed the family they will soon discharge him. “But on June 20 they moved him to ICU. His oxygen level dipped. We kept calling the doctor, but he didn’t respond. We had no idea what the hospital was doing inside the isolation ward,” said Shafik Malik, Shaikh’s brother-in-law.
The same day Shabana tested positive and was moved to Kalsekar hospital. She had mild fever then. On June 22 morning, Shabana went to feed Shaikh apples and pears. Hours later he passed away due to cardiac arrest. She could not attend his funeral.
The family said doctors asked them to arrange for Tocilizumab on June 26 when Shabana’s oxygen saturation level also dropped. The family initially asked Kalsekar hospital to arrange the drug. When the hospital did not, they went to Panvel, Ghatkopar and Byculla to look for suppliers throughout the day. By evening when drugs was arranged in Kurla’s Fauzia hospital, Shabana had passed away. They said no one in the hospital helped Shabana to go to the toilet. She used to complain of poor food. “Kehti thi sirf chane ka pani dete hai (Hospital gives me watery dal),” said Saima.
Malik said the hospital offered them Rs 5,000 when they refused to take the body. “There is no communication from the hospital. We don’t know what treatment is provided inside, whether patients are even monitored. Healthy people are dying,” said Malik.
Dr Arnav Patekar, medical officer in-charge in Kausa, said, “The treatment aspect has to be handled by the hospital, we can only monitor contact tracing and early referral.” Dr Imran Shaikh, assistant medical officer in Kalsekar hospital, said, “Their oxygen saturation was low since admission. Tocilizumab was not available that day when the patient needed it, so we asked the family to get it. The supply has been irregular.”
Dr Shaikh said patients are reaching them late. “The delay is costing most people their lives,” he said. He, however, denied the hospital offered the family any money. The hospital has one nurse for two patients in the intensive care unit and one nurse for six patients in the general ward. There are 23 resident medical officers. Since Covid-19 patients require high pressure oxygen support to lungs, the hospital has been facing constant issues of lack of supply of oxygen. The management decided to cut down to 70 beds this week so that oxygen pressure could be maintained for patients.
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