The Odisha government received backlash after it shared information that the third positive coronavirus case in the state had visited a private health facility in Bhubaneswar, days before he tested positive. The information resulted in four harrowing days for dozens of patients with kidney problems who visit the same private health facility regularly for dialysis.
Late Thursday night, Odisha’s Health and Family Welfare Department in a series of tweets said, “Based on the contact history of the third positive (Corona) case (in Odisha), Health Department urges people not to visit Kar Clinic Bhubaneswar for outpatient and inpatient care”.
“The person had earlier visited the OPD of Kar Clinic on March 21. He got admitted to Kar Clinic on March 24 and was in ICU for a day. Health Department urges the management of Kar Clinic to take all possible measures to isolate the doctors, nurses and all who had attended the patient and come in his contact,” the Department added.
Recalling his run from one hospital to another to find an alternative dialysis facility, Manjit Mishra, whose 69-year-old mother has been visiting the private health facility for four years now, told the Indian Express, “This is not shutting down a school or a mall. How can you shut down a hospital or clinic without making alternative arrangements for critical patients?”
Manjit’s mother Usha visits the clinic twice a week for dialysis and monitoring. He explained that his mother visits NephroPlus, a dialysis network centre that runs six centres in Odisha, one of which is in Kar Clinic.
“My mother’s last dialysis visit was on March 24 and she was due for another on Friday. But the government sealed the entire premises. No one from NephroPlus centre also helped us when I requested for an alternative site for the dialysis”, Manjit added.
Other than Kar Clinic, NephroPlus website lists four other dialysis centres in Bhubaneswar alone. “We tried our best to shift patients. But no other affiliated hospital would agree, fearing chances of cross-infection,” said NephroPlus Zonal Manager, Eastern Region, Alok Panda.
Manjit took his mother on Saturday morning to Capital Hospital for testing coronavirus but was turned away stating that “testing cannot be done as she has no symptoms” and was advised isolation, which, Manjit says was a “terrifying prospect as it would mean missing more dialysis sessions”.
Meanwhile, four days later, the Health Department on Sunday tweeted, “Kar Clinic Bhubaneswar has been sanitised and advised to provide emergency continuum care such as dialysis. However, the care providers who had come in contact with the third COVID positive case need to be on isolation and the SoP issued by DHS be followed”.
Subhash Chandra Samal, 39, a farmer who also visits Kar Clinic for his dialsysis said, “I missed my dialysis session Saturday. I desperately went to Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar, but I was told to come back after three months as they have 70 dialysis patients of their own. I was terrified that missing two or three sessions in a row would be my end. Even now, no one has called me to say that the clinic is open. This is highly irresponsible behavior by the government”.
State Health Secretary N K Dhal was unavailable for comment.
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