Cameraperson: Athar Rather
“I asked the guard how my mother is doing and he asked me to write a note with her name on it. He then told me that she died, but how can I believe him?”Shahrukh, son of a COVID-19 patient
A son does not know whether his mother is still alive. He was tense and extremely worried about her wellbeing. Shahrukh’s mother was admitted to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP), a COVID-19 hospital under the Delhi government. He did not believe what he heard from the guards at the hospital, and it was unfortunate that he was unable to get such crucial information straight from the hospital authorities.
To get a sense of the ground reality, The Quint did a check at LNJP hospital.
As media is not allowed within the premises, we spoke to family members of patients admitted at the hospital, at and around the entrance. We also spoke to suspected COVID-19 patients seeking admission at LNJP.
In 45 degree celsius heat, patients and their relatives are being made to run from one hospital to the other in search of beds. The hunt for beds is clearly the biggest challenge in Delhi right now. Some of those we met had reached LNJP after being denied beds in other government hospitals.
“We went to RML (Ram Manohar Lohia hospital), where they took his samples but the report will come only after five days. His health is deteriorating. We went to Safdarjung today and showed him in the OPD. We were told to go to the emergency, there also we were told that no beds were empty. Even AIIMS said they had no beds.”Ram Narayan, a COVID-19 patient’s son
Kapil Kumar, an electrician, has been waiting for his COVID-19 test reports for almost two weeks.
“On the Aarogya Setu app I was notified that I had come in contact with a COVID-19 patient, which is why I got myself tested. I gave my samples on 27 May but haven’t received my reports yet.”Kapil Kumar, Electrician
The frequency of ambulances entering and leaving the premises, every five minutes, was indicative of the heavy patient load at LNJP hospital. Some told us that 'using influence' was the only way for them to get their patient admitted.
“We faced some problems in getting them admitted and had to use our influential contacts to get them beds, because there is an overload of patients.”Rajesh Kedia, relative of a COVID-19 patient
Guidelines state that it is important for the immediate family members of COVID-19 patients to be in isolation to stop any further spread of the virus. But we found that authorities at LNJP were permitting close family members to visit their patients and bring them food on a daily basis.
“The doctor did tell me to be in isolation. But I am alone and I have to bring my wife food and sanitizer.”Narendra, husband of a COVID-19 patient
As cases and deaths rise, the COVID-19 situation has become more challenging.
The Supreme Court on Friday, 12 June, pulled up some state and UT governments including Delhi for their ‘poor’ handling of COVID-19 patients and bodies of the deceased.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and MR Shah, while calling out Delhi for mismanagement of patients in the national capital, said, “People are being treated worse than animals.” Calling it “a deplorable state of affairs”, Justice MR Shah said that there is a need for more beds and better infrastructure.
The Quint will keep tracking the situation at Delhi’s COVID-19 hospitals.