Days after a 49-year-old autorickshaw driver died after he was reportedly turned away by eight hospitals, the family of a 75-year-old man who died at his residence last week said he was refused admission by 12 hospitals.
Samad Qureshi, the senior citizen who lived at Khatau Mill in Agripada, fell in his bathroom around 2.30 pm on April 17. A local physician, who was called home, said Qureshi was fine. “However, around 4 pm, he complained of chest pain,” said Qureshi’s nephew, Hashim.
According to relatives, Qureshi was taken to Prince Ali Khan Hospital, where a CT scan was done. The doctors said he had sustained injuries on his chest and head, but said there was no ICU facility at the hospital, said a relative.
“We took him to Wockhardt hospital, where doctors told us that they have stopped admitting patients,” said Hashim. Wockhardt hospital has been a containment zone since March 28, when nurses started testing positive for COVID-19.
Qureshi was then taken to Saifee hospital, which reportedly said no ICU beds were available.
Next, he was taken to H N Reliance hospital. While Qureshi waited in the van outside the hospital, his relatives said they met a woman doctor on the ground floor, who told them that no ICU beds or oxygen cylinders were available. However, a spokesperson of HN Reliance Hospital said: “At Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, we maintain a record of all the patients coming to the emergency department (ER). As per the emergency department records, there are no details of Samad Qureshi coming to our ER on April 17. Our emergency is operational 24×7 and we don’t refuse any patient.”
With his condition worsening, Qureshi was taken to Masina hospital. His relatives said the doctors told them that he needed to be tested for COVID-19 before he could be admitted. Also, treatment would not begin till the test report arrived. Dr Vispi Jokhi, medical director of Masina hospital, said: “I will have to check this.”
The family then started making calls to other hospitals. Hashim said they first contacted Bombay hospital, which said no ICU beds were available. A doctor from the hospital said, “Private hospitals are scared of admitting patients suspected of being infected. We can’t risk shutting down the entire hospital.” Bombay Hospital has reserved 56 beds for COVID-19 patients.
After Bombay Hospital, Qureshi’s family called up Saboo Siddique hospital, Habib hospital, Fauzia Nursing home and Nair hospital. Each maintained that they had no bed, said the nephew. A senior doctor at Nair hospital said since the hospital is now a dedicated COVID-19 facility, no other patients are being admitted. Hashim said Qureshi was then taken to Balaji hospital, but no ICU beds were available there as well.
Seven hours after he first complained of chest pain, around 11.30 pm, Qureshi was taken to JJ hospital, where doctors told his relatives, after a few preliminary questions, that he was not infected, and referred him to St George’s hospital. “When we reached St George’s hospital, they asked us to return to JJ hospital. We feared that he may die, so we brought him home,” Hashim said. Medical superintendent of St George’s hospital, Dr Akash Khobragade, said the hospital is only treating critical COVID-19 patients.
At home, the local physician asked the family to get an oxygen cylinder. While they were trying to get a cylinder in the middle of the night, Samad died.
In another incident, a 53-year-old man died outside Saifee hospital on April 10 after he was reportedly turned away by three hospitals.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines