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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

For the lack of oxygen

From Goa Medical College Hospital to Jaipur Golden and Batra in New Delhi last month; from Nashik to Chamrajnagar. Across cities and towns SOSs went out 24 by 7. By the time High Courts and the Supreme Court prodded governments to act, it was too late for many.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral , Amil Bhatnagar , Zeeshan Shaikh , MAYURA JANWALKAR , Aaron Pereira |
Updated: May 16, 2021 9:46:22 am
As a nation counts — and also doesn’t count — its dead, as the wave enters villages, The Sunday Express profiles lives lost for the lack of oxygen and listens to what their survivors have to say.

If migrants walking back home is the enduring image of the first Covid wave, the oxygen cylinder marks the tragedy of the second.

Overnight, daily medical oxygen demand exploded from 1,000 metric tonnes to almost 10,000, crashing a system woefully — and, often, wilfully — unprepared.

From Goa Medical College Hospital to Jaipur Golden and Batra in New Delhi last month; from Nashik to Chamrajnagar. Across cities and towns SOSs went out 24 by 7. By the time High Courts and the Supreme Court prodded governments to act, it was too late for many.

Like the mother who passed away a day after her birthday; a young father whose child would have turned two next week.

As a nation counts — and also doesn’t count — its dead, as the wave enters villages, The Sunday Express profiles lives lost for the lack of oxygen and listens to what their survivors have to say.

Gurdeep Singh, 37,
AC maintenance contractor died on April 27 at New Medical College Hospital, Kota

He leaves behind: Wife and a child who turns 2 on May 24. “I am a nurse, but for my husband, I had to arrange remdesivir through a politician. He kept saying he didn’t want to die… My husband was tall and of good build. We are Sikhs, we eat well and he fought hard…. But he passed away, and I saw people on nearby beds dying too,”says his wife Maninder Kaur, a nurse.

Gurdeep Singh, 37

Nisha Goel, 59,
Businesswoman died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Delhi

She leaves behind: Daughter Sonali Goel (36) and son Dhruv Goel (32). “I met her the day she died. We chatted for half an hour… She was so active… was 59 but looked 40,” says Sonali.

Nisha Goel, 59

Sarabjeet Kaur, 58,
Housewife died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Delhi

She leaves behind: Husband and three sons. “At 10.30 pm that night, the doctors showed me my mother, saying she is alright. Around 3 am the next morning, she was gone!” says son Jagjyot Singh.

Sarabjeet Kaur, 58

Jayshankar M, 37
Engineer died on May 2 at Chamarajanagar district hospital

He leaves behind: Wife and two daughters. “He was the only earning member of our family. Government should give me a job for me to sustain my family,” says wife Siddarajamma.

Jayshankar M, 37

Seema Avasthi, 56,
School principal died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Delhi

She leaves behind: Two daughters. “On April 23, I met her at 4.30 pm and she said she was feeling better. We chatted for half an hour. Next morning, she was no more,” says daughter Navya.

Seema Avasthi, 56

Charanjit Gera, 49,

Autorickshaw driver died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden, Delhi

He leaves behind: Two sons. “Nobody at the hospital told us they were short of oxygen. This is criminal… At the same time, my mother, who could not get an ICU bed died too,” says son Gaurav.

Charanjit Gera, 49

Inder Mohan Singh, 54,

Businessman died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Delhi

He leaves behind: Wife and two sons. “I met him on April 23. At 8.30 pm, he ate a little custard and chatted with my son on my phone. When I left the hospital, he was all fine,” says his son.

Inder Mohan Singh, 54

Delphin Massey, 60,
Homemaker died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Delhi

She leaves behind: Two sons. “We managed a video call with her on April 22. It was her birthday. She spoke through gestures through her oxygen mask. A day later, she was gone,” says son Erick.

Delphin Massey, 60

Manoj Kumar, 45,
Accountant died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Delhi

He leaves behind: Wife and two children. “The hospital did not inform us about the oxygen shortage. Last time we saw him, his oxygen level was 98,” says brother-in-law Rajnish Kumar.

Manoj Kumar, 45

Dinesh Kataryia, 41,
Cargo screening at Delhi airport died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Delhi

He leaves behind: Wife and daughter: The hospital is responsible for his death. They should have informed us about the oxygen crisis,” says wife Shalu.

Dinesh Kataryia, 41

Mithlesh Garg, 66,
Homemaker died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Delhi

She leaves behind: Husband, two sons. “The hospital administration should have told us they were running short of oxygen. I have filed complaint with the PMO and the Delhi CM,” says son Ankit.

Mithlesh Garg, 66

Alvito Alemida, 75,
Teacher died at Goa Medical College & Hospital on May 10

He leaves behind: Wife Filomena Almeida (70). “I saw my sister (also a Covid patient) crying bitterly on the floor of GMCH. No one should face this,” says brother-in-law Marcus D’cruz.

Alvito Alemida, 75

Divakar Viturkar, 51,
Hotel employee died at Goa Medical College & Hospital, May 13

He leaves behind: Wife and son. “There has to be accountability. No other patient should have to go through what my bhauji went through. I am torn inside,” says brother-in-law Hemant.

Divakar Viturkar, 51

Luzia Vas, 54,
Teacher died at Goa Medical College & Hospital on May 10

She leaves behind: Husband and daughter (22). “Medical staff can’t let government dictate terms. Technical issues can’t lead to deaths of people,” says her niece Seoula Vas.

Maria, 61, Homemaker & Joaquim Fernandes, 67, Ran a taxi service died at Goa Medical college hospital, may 12-13

They leave behind: Two daughters. “I urge people to protect themselves. Don’t rely on medical staff. We can’t get our parents back,” says daughter Crescy.

Luzia Vas, 54

Sugandha Thorat, 65,
Homemaker died on April 21 at Nashik municipal hospital

She leaves behind: A son, daughter and grandchildren. “The hospital didn’t have the infrastructure to save my grandmother. Our leaders must be held accountable,” says grandson Vicky Jadhav.

Sugandha Thorat, 65

Geeta Wackchoure, 50,
Homemaker died on April 21 at Nashik municipal hospital

She leaves behind: Husband and son. “My mother was recovering but died only because she didn’t get oxygen. There was no back-up. The hospital staff was helpless,” says her son Manoj.

Geeta Wackchoure, 50

Uday Kumar Jaiswal, 38,
Trader died on April 18 at Shahdol Medical college, MP

He leaves behind: Wife, son (8), elderly parents. “He lost his livelihood during the lockdown. He was the sole earning member. There must be a probe into his death,” says brother Ravi.

Uday Kumar Jaiswal, 38

Pavan Kewlani, 31,
Worked at a store died on April 18 at Shahdol Medical college, MP

He leaves behind: Mother, brother. “CM has declared Rs 5,000 pension for those who have lost a breadwinner, but I lost my brother who was like my son, what will we get?” says brother Prem.

Pavan Kewlani, 31

Sanjay Seth, 57,
Bank employee died on May 1 at Batra hospital, Delhi

He leaves behind: Mother, wife and two children. “Hospitals should inform the family if oxygen is running out. We could have helped, he died of negligence,” says brother-in-law Sanjay.

Sanjay Seth, 57

Kanwaljeet Kaur, 64,
Housewife died on May 1 at Batra hospital, Delhi

She leaves behind: Husband, two daughters, a son. “Two days before she died, she was feeling better. We fed her khichdi. No one should die due to lack of oxygen,” says son-in-law Ranjeet.

Kanwaljeet Kaur, 64

K Ramana Chary, 40,
Daily wager died on May 10 at Sri Venkateswara Ramnarain Ruia Hospital, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

He leaves behind: Pregnant wife, mother. “ I have no one left now, I don’t know how I will survive. No one reached out to us from government,” says his wife.

K Ramana Chary, 40,

Pushpa Mishra, 50,
Housewife died on April 21 at Almighty Hospital in Lucknow, UP

She leaves behind: Husband and daughter. “The hospital is denying it but the staff admitted that there was no oxygen. We spent Rs 7 lakh in treatment, need answers,” says daughter Prachi.

Pushpa Mishra, 50

Shipra Nagar, 37,
Homemaker died on April 20 at govt medical college, Kota

She leaves behind: Husband, two children. “It was gross negligence,” says husband Vimal. Hospital says “oxygen had not stopped but pressure had dropped.”

Shipra Nagar, 37

Tanuja Vidyarthi, 53,
School teacher died on April 24 at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Delhi

She leaves behind: Husband and daughter. “When we can arrange for all other medicines, why didn’t the hospital ask us for a cylinder? Isn’t it criminal negligence?” asks husband Anurag.

Tanuja Vidyarthi, 53

Gurpreet Singh, 29,
Farmer died on April 23 at Neelkanth Hospital, Amritsar

He leaves behind: Wife, two children. “We were told about oxygen shortage too late. We had already bought 3 cylinders. We want a probe and compensation,” says relative Harpinder Singh.

Gurpreet Singh, 29

Kanwaljit Kaur, 58,
Housewife died on April 23 at Neelkanth Hospital, Amritsar

She leaves behind: Husband, two sons. “We were paying more than Rs 40,000 per day to the hospital, and were arranging for oxygen too. They should shut down,” says her son.

Kulwant Singh, 58,
Tailor died on April 23 at Neelkanth Hospital, Amritsar

He leaves behind: Three children. “He had started eating and was recovering. We were told he would be discharged soon, and that we should get cylinders for home,” says his son.

Kulwant Singh, 58

Devendra Kurari, 57,
Veterinarian died on April 23 at Galaxy Hospital in Jabalpur, MP

He leaves behind: Wife, two children. “We paid Rs 1.5 lakh for his treatment but there was no staff at hospital to fix the oxygen supply. Who is to be blamed for his death?” says his brother-in-law.

 

Devendra Kurari, 57

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