A 30-year-old vegetable vendor, his sister-in-law, her one-year-old babygirl and eight-year-old daughter were all discharged from Aundh Civil Hospital on Friday morning after two of their tests were negative for COVID-19. The family from Baramati received a ‘rousing reception’ when they reached their home in the afternoon.
The vendor lost his father on April 9 to coronavirus but his family didn’t inform him about the death as he was himself in the hospital. “I could not attend my father’s funeral… this will haunt me all my life,” he said.
His 60-year-old father started feeling uneasy a few days ago, and then had fever. “My father was suffering from diabetes and high blood sugar. On April 4, he was finding it dificult to breathe…So, we took him to a private doctor who conducted various tests. The doctor told us that my father had symptoms of pneumonia and therefore he should be taken to a government hospital,” the man told The Indian Express.
He accompanied his father to Sassoon General Hospital in an ambulance. “My father was kept in an isolation unit meant for suspected patients. I was wearing a mask whenever I met him at Sassoon Hospital.”
He said after his father was found positive for COVID-19, throat swab samples of the entire family were taken. “The reports of four of us, including me, my sister-in-law and her two children were positive,” he said.
“When the doctors told us… that our reports were positive…I was shocked… Somehow, we found the courage to ight it out. All this while, I couldn’t meet my father,” he said.
While his three family members had no symptoms, he had fever and suffered from occasional headaches. “The doctors gave me some medicine, after which I felt relief,” he said.
Praising the hospital staff, the man said, “The doctors, nurses and other staff at the hospital treated us as if we were their family members. Not once did we feel alone and lonely. They were constantly enquiring about us, supporting us and taking care of us…”.
The vendor said when they reached Baramati, neighbours and other residents clapped and welcomed them.
However, their joy was short-lived as the vendor soon learnt about his father’s death. “My sister told me that my father had passed away on April 9. All this while, my family kept telling me that he was admitted in Sassoon Hospital and was on ventilator support …My family told me that they could not make it to the funeral as the government did all the rituals. It will remain the biggest regret of my life that I could not attend my father’s funeral…,” he said.
His sister-in-law said initially, she was also shocked about her diagnosis. “I didn’t know how to react… but everything was smooth, the doctors and nurses treated us well and we never felt that we were coronavirus patients,” she said.
The vendor said the fact that he and his family members were discharged from the hospital on the eve of Ramzan augured well for the family as they had gone through a very difficult time in the last one month. “Our business came to a halt, my father passed away and four of us were in the hospital. It was a nightmare that lasted for several days,” he said, adding that they were now set for the holy month of Ramzan.
A team of 50 doctors, nurses and other support staff led by Dr Sharmila Gaikwad and Dr Kiran Khalate treated the four patients for 15 days. “The vendor suffered from loose motions once and had fever. We gave him paracetamol and HCQ, Vitamin C and zinc…The one year old baby, her eight-year-old sister and their mother remained asympotamtic,” said Dr Gaikwad.
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