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No Answer on Mumbai COVID Helpline, Took Dad to Hospital on a Bike

The helpline numbers were not helpful, sometimes there was no answer.

Published
My Report
3 min read

Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Video Producer: Aastha Gulati
Illustration: Arnica Kala

I am a resident of Kurla in Mumbai. My father, who is 53 years of age, was tested positive for coronavirus on 17 April. I wish to share the difficulties we faced in getting him tested and finally getting him admitted to a hospital for treatment.

My father was running a fever since 10 April, so we consulted our family doctor who gave him a few medicines over the phone. Unfortunately, he didn’t get better so we took him to Lilavati Hospital in Bandra (West) on 15 April. The first thing they asked us was if he was tested for COVID-19. We answered in the negative.

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They too gave us a prescription for two days. The fever was persistent in all those days. My father had no travel history. We went to Marol for a test on 17 April but unfortunately, the waiting was two hours long.

The helpline numbers were not helpful, sometimes there was no answer. We then did a search for other testing centres and found one in Sion.

We were explained on the phone that a payment of Rs 4,500 would need to be made. Consequently, we made an appointment and got my father tested. The test was e-mailed to us within 24 hours and it came back positive.

Scared, I called my friend who is also a social worker for help. We called for an ambulance via the helpline number. We called the Maharashtra helpline number but they asked to call on the Mumbai helpline. We couldn’t get through that number initially and then there was no response after.

He called ‘108’ for an ambulance but wasn’t able to get a response. Then he called ‘100’ but even that didn’t work. The local police asked us to coordinate with the BMC. 

Tired of this back and forth, we decided to wait for the night to pass and kept my father isolated at home. Next morning we tried calling ‘108’ again, but it was disconnecting after one ring. As a last resort, we went to the hospital in our two-wheeler.

We reached Lilavati Hospital around 11.30 am the next morning to get my father admitted. There were a lot of problems my family had to incur. The hospital recommended that we get treatment in a government hospital as they don’t have a bed.

However, when we went to get medicine there two days prior, they’d asked us to comeback to them only. They then said we’d have to make a deposit of Rs 2.5 lakhs.

I thought we’d have to adjust so I made the payment but even after that my dad was just sitting there for 2 to 3 hours before the formalities were completed.

Back at home, the BMC employees came to enquire our history but haven’t tested anyone yet but asked us to quarantine. They have sealed entry and exit points to our residential area and sanitised the house.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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