“I’m tired. I am ready to hold their feet but please admit her. They are saying there are no beds in the hospital. Let her lie on the floor, but at least let her get treatment. Tired of being refused by every place. I can’t leave her to die. Please admit her.”
These were the words of 43-year-old Aslam Khan who had brought his severely ill wife, Ruby Khan, 30, and their daughter on his bike to Delhi’s biggest Covid-dedicated facility, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital. He stood at the gate of the hospital, pleading with the staff.
By then, he’d been turned back by three other hospitals because, despite a chest scan of hers showing COVID-19 infection, she did not have a lab report confirming it.
“But look at this chest scan I just got done from the trauma centre. It shows lung infection and doctors said she has Covid. But here in LNJP, too, they are saying take her somewhere else. She will die on the way,” Mr Khan told NDTV.
Ms Khan finally did manage to get a bed at LNJP — after an hour. There are, however, scores of others like her who are still struggling. Due to the new variant of the disease, experts say that blood tests, chest X-rays, and even CT scans can indicate Covid even if the lab reports turn negative.
And hospitals refuse to admit patients, even if they are gasping for breath, without a Covid-positive report.
“My mother Santosh Devi is 60 years old. I took her to three different hospitals but she had a negative report so they did not admit her. Her oxygen levels have been dipping. I finally came to LNJP and waited here for two-and-a-half hours after which they took her inside,” said Vinod Kumar.
Rahul Verma, who runs NGO Uday Foundation, which works with families of patients, lost his 71-year-old uncle a few days ago as hospital-after-hospital refused him admission for the same reason.
“By the time he tested positive later, we struggled. The ambulance dropped him outside the hospital and he was there for six hours without Oxygen. He ultimately got a bed but we lost him within a few hours,” Mr Verma said.
“I beg the government with folded hands that please do not make the Covid report mandatory for at least senior citizens.”
Rules do not permit denial of admission to patients with such severe symptoms, regardless of test results. Earlier, hospitals even had separate observation wards for Covid suspects but with beds running out, hospitals have turned more stringent.