Forty-nine-year-old Munir Ramdurg, a well-known civic activist from Pimpri-Chinchwad and former vice-president of Ammunition Factory Workers’ Union, Khadki, died of coronavirus on Monday. He is survived by his wife, two sons, a brother and two sisters. A Covid warrior, Ramdurg helped several Covid patients find hospital beds and cremate victims’ bodies.
His family alleged there was delay of seven days in getting proper treatment for him as doctors failed to diagnose his medical condition. His family and three local corporators have urged Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar to probe the matter and create awareness so that no other citizen meets the same fate.
His son Adil said, “My father first went to a doctor in Kasarwadi after he developed fever. The doctor said he had throat infection and gave antibiotics. When he again had fever next day, he went to a doctor in Akurdi. The doctor told my father not to worry as he didn’t have coronavirus. He gave some antibiotics.”
Ramdurg felt better for a day. “He went to work on September 1. He again had fever. Next day, my father went to a doctor at Kondhwa. The doctor treated him the entire day and allowed him to go home in the evening. Next day, the doctor took an X-ray. Entire day, he treated him at his hospital in Kondhwa and in the evening sent him home. He refused to admit him. He said my father did not have coronavirus.”
Ramdurg was treated by the Kondhwa doctor for three days. On the fourth morning, he felt uneasy. “As we headed for the doctor, he said admit him wherever you find a hospital. For four days, the doctor kept telling us he did not have coronavirus. For nearly seven days, three doctors could not understand his illness,” said Ramdurg’s wife. The doctor in Kondhwa was treating him for typhoid, she said.
When PMC health chief Dr Ramchandra Hankare was contacted by the family, he helped Ramdurg get a bed at Naidu hospital. “When the patient was brought in, his saturation level had gone below 50 per cent. He was in a critical condition from the moment he was admitted.” Hankare said there was considerable delay in getting treatment which worsened his condition.
Four days later, Ramdurg was shifted to Ruby Hall Clinic where he succumbed to coronavirus in three days. “For shifting him from Naidu to Ruby, which is a distance of one km, it took eight hours as no cardio ambulance equipped with portable ventilator was available,” said advocate Sushil Mancharkar.
Ruby spokesperson Dr Sanjay Pathare said, “When the patient was shifted from Naidu to Ruby, he was already in a critical stage. Our doctors tried their best to save his life… It seems there was too much delay in getting treatment.”
In letters to both PCMC commissioner and PMC commissioner, Kasarwadi corporator Aasha Shendge said, “Pimpri-Chinchwad has lost a Covid warrior and crusader who took up civic issues. He had been fighting against civic deficiencies for nearly 30 years. His death reveals that civic officials both in PMC and PCMC areas failed to sensitise doctors regarding urgent treatment to patients. Had local doctors referred him to a proper Covid hospital, Ramdurg would not have died as he had no other co-morbidities.”
Corporator Babu Nair said, “Ramdurg’s death speaks volumes about how some doctors are still taking patients’ illnesses lightly. There was need for immediate testing in case of Ramdurg, which did not happen.”
Advocate Sushil Mancharkar said, “Ramdurg helped several patients find hospital beds. Not just that, he used to help in cremation of bodies as families were afraid of going close to bodies. Even when he was undergoing treatment, he had attended a funeral.”
His close friend Rajesh Tope said, “Munir relentlessly worked for people around him. In Kasarwadi, he was instrumental in setting up the burial ground for Muslim community. Over 15 years back, he led an agitation which forced PCMC to set up the burial ground. He was honoured in Kasarwadi.”
Sathyan Iyer, a retired Income Tax officer, said, “We activists are planning to set up a memorial trust in the name of Ramdurg to help the poor and work for the development of the industrial town.”
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