May 26, 2020 2:50:37 am
He sat in a wheelchair for three hours waiting for a bed in KEM hospital. Even as doctors treated him and desperately tried to find him a bed, the 55-year-old man, suspected to be Covid-19 positive, breathed his last in the wheelchair.
The man was earlier refused admission by seven hospitals, his family said. By the time he reached KEM on May 22, he required ICU support. He had complained of breathlessness and chest pain.
The Behram Baug resident has once again drawn attention to the acute shortage of beds to treat critically ill Covid-19 patients. KEM doctors said they do not deny treatment to any patient, but are forced to treat many on floor mattresses and wheelchairs until a bed is available. While BMC has promised real time data on beds available in each hospital, the plan is yet to be implemented.
The Jogeshwari-based family — the deceased’s wife and three daughters — have now been placed in quarantine. According to one of his daughters, he was a heart patient and was not feeling well since a week. On May 21 evening his condition worsened, when he complained of breathlessness and chest pain.
His daughter and some relatives started enquiring about beds in hospitals to admit him. They approached seven hospitals — Millat and Mallika hospitals (both in Jogeshwari), BSES, Bellevue, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani and Criticare hospitals (both in Andheri), and Dr RN Cooper Hospital in Juhu, before KEM, about 10 km away, agreed to admit him. According to his daughter, the other hospitals cited shortage of ventilator beds.
“In Cooper hospital doctors put him on oxygen support. However, they did not admit him citing non-availability of ventilators. From there, we somehow managed to get an ambulance and went to Kokilaben hospital. But they also did not have a bed. Around 4 am, we reached KEM. Around 5 am, they admitted him and his swab was taken for Covid-19 test and subsequently his treatment started. He was being treated in his wheelchair,” she said.
His family said they received his remains 16 hours after his death and he was later buried. The daughter said Friday, BMC officials visited their home and told them to be in quarantine for 14 days. Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean, KEM hospital, said as a policy they are not refusing treatment to any patient but the over 400 beds for Covid-19 are running to their full capacity.
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