Constant complaints, but authorities in denial

Relatives of COVID-19 patients outside the Lok Nayak Hospital in the Capital.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Many relatives of COVID-19 patients who are admitted at Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Hospital and GTB Hospital have complained of patients not getting adequate care, lack of facilities in government hospitals and bodies lying on wards for hours.

On Thursday, an IPS officer posted a distress message from her Twitter account that her cousin, who was admitted to GTB Hospital was not given proper care and has lost hope. The officer said he “feels like jumping from the 6th floor”.

Namrata Saini, whose mother died at Lok Nayak Hospital on May 7, said the treatment was “pathetic” and her mother used to complain about unhygienic conditions in the ward. Meghna Sharma, who was admitted at the hospital for 25 days, complained that bodies were not removed on time, some remained for “four to five hours”.

False allegations

However, Dr. Suresh Kumar, Medical Director of Lok Nayak Hospital, refuted both allegations, saying those were false. On the complaints made by Ms. Saini, he said: “We had conducted an internal inquiry on her complaints and found that there was no problem. We treat thousands of patients and people are happy with the treatment. We try our level best, but some still complain.”

About complaints of bodies lying in the wards for hours, he explained: “Once a death occurs, we have to inform the family first. It takes five to ten minutes to explain to the family what happened. Once that is done, we ask staff to shift the body to the mortuary. The body is packed as per COVID guidelines and labelled, and the area is disinfected. This takes 45 minutes to one hour and for this time, the body will be in the ward. It takes this much time anywhere in the world.”

Time consuming

Ms. Saini’s 60-year-old mother was admitted on the night of April 29, but she alleged her scan was done only on May 5. “A steroid injection was administered to her on May 5. They should have done it on the first day itself, but they didn’t. After giving the injection, my mother was better and she talked to us on video call for about two hours. She complained that the ward was very unclean and there was urine and stool,” she said.

There were problems at the time of death too. “At 11.45 p.m. on May 6, I was outside the ward to get my mother’s phone and I saw two people in PPE kit carrying my mother’s body in a stretcher. But the hospital did not tell us at that time that she had died. On May 7, we got a call from the hospital around 8 a.m. that she had died. The time of death on the death certificate is 12.35 a.m. on May 7. They do this as if they do not have staff at night,” Ms. Saini said, fuming.

When the family approached Dr. Suresh, he replied in a WhatsApp message to Ms. Saini: “We are analysing all deaths. Most deaths are due to bad and severe disease. Most patients come to LNH with 70% to 85% O2 level. With DM or any long underlying disease this virus strain is difficult to treat. Nothing works. Even Remdes or steroids don’t work madam. Even in UK and USA deaths are there. They are fully developed nations [sic].”

Dr. Suresh said that the hospital has outsourced cleaning and more than 400 people are deployed for sanitation and cleaning is done five times a day in all wards. He said that COVID-19 patients stay alone at the hospital and are frustrated, in many cases depressed too. So under this duress, they blame government facilities.

Little care

Aslam Khan, an IPS officer, posted a distress message from her Twitter account about her cousin in a Delhi government hospital on Thursday. “My cousin admitted in GTB Hospital for more than a week. 102-3 fever. No medication. CT done yesterday, but no medi started. He is 6th floor new building, bed no 35. cald up just now to say that he has lost hope & feel like jumping from 6th floor. No care. Whom should I tag here [sic]?” the post read.

She deleted the tweet about five hours later saying the Delhi government has reached out to the patient.

In another instance, Mahender Kumar Sharma, whose 29-year-old daughter has been admitted to GTB Hospital for more than 10 days, complained that there was no proper care. “There is no care here. When she wants to go to the bathroom and needs help, there is no one to help. She says that at times she has to wait for two hours to go to the bathroom,” he said. “When we say something, they get angry. But on the other hand, they are also working long hours and have more workload. They have given a helpline number, but it doesn’t work at times,” he said.

Another person whose father is admitted said the hospital helpline number was not working and the patient was not even given a pillow. “There is apathy towards the patients and there is no proper care,” he said.

On the other hand, Manoj Kumar, whose brother is admitted to the hospital, said he was happy with the treatment given by the hospital. “My brother says it is clean and he gets food on time. His wife was also admitted here and she recovered,” Mr. Kumar said.

GTB Hospital and Delhi government spokesperson did not respond to queries.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 2:00:38 PM |

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