It’s a struggle for treatment for non-COVID patients in Delhi

Relatives of patients  on the road divider outside AIIMS, as they face a long wait for treatment.

Relatives of patients on the road divider outside AIIMS, as they face a long wait for treatment.

With an unbearable pain in his stomach and his face turning yellow, 68-year-old Zile Singh sat on a stretcher waiting for his turn at the Emergency of All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). At the admission counter, his son Karamraj pleaded for an early slot to take his father inside for check-up. The duo had been waiting for over three hours in the long queue on a cold winter morning.

While on record there is no apparent hassle in getting admission in the designated government hospitals during the current Omicron wave, The Hindu witnessed confusion and delay in treating non-COVID patients in various hospitals.

“The Out Patient Department [OPD] is shut. They are not giving admission easily. We have been waiting since morning and the queue is moving very slowly. My father is in pain,” Mr. Karamraj told this reporter. He came to AIIMS from Jhajjar, Haryana, with his father, suspected to be suffering from Jaundice.

Mohammed Dildar, 47, was in tears waiting for his turn in the queue at AIIMS . He had been discharged barely a month ago after being treated for black fungus. But the attack of COVID-19 left him with an excruciating pain in his left leg. “What should I do now?” he asked, his patience wearing out after two hours.

Pushpa, 36, and her husband Rajesh, 39, sat on the floor outside the paediatrics ward. With two bags carrying their clothes and essentials, they reached here from Gwalior on January 11. Pushpa has been under treatment at AIIMS for over five years now. Before the pandemic hit, never did she face any problem in getting an appointment with the doctor. “This time, we have not yet been able to meet the doctor who has been treating me in the past,” Pushpa said, complaining of puking blood. A staffer told her to get some tests done, which she did. The reports will take two days after which we’ll try again for an appointment. If we don’t get to consult the doctor, we will have to find out when to come next,” she said. Her husband, Rajesh is a labourer. He spent ₹1,400 to bring his wife from Madhya Pradesh to Delhi. Going back home and again returning later is not a financially viable option for him.

Similarly, Hari Krishan, 30, came from Bihar’s Siwan with his five-year-old son Aman and mother-in-law Mayapati Devi on January 10. He could not get a place in the night shelters nearby and the three have been staying on the hospital premises ever since.

The situation at Safdarjung Hospital across the road was no different. There was a delay in admitting patients and that caused confusion and hardship to many.

Two women, Arti and Gulshan, waited in critical stage of labour outside the gynaecology department. The security guard told them to get the RT-PCR test done first. “We have also been told there are few doctors on duty now. The doctor who is supposed to examine pregnant women will come only in the afternoon after completing his morning OPD duty,” said Jameela, Gulshan’s sister-in-law.

Dwarika Prasad, a 50-year-old labourer from East Delhi — has been bringing his wife to the hospital for the last four days. She developed swollen feet and was unable to walk. “The doctor is still not available. Today, we were asked to get our COVID tests done, which is open here till 11 a.m. only. We will have to come back again tomorrow,” he said.

Waiting for hours

At Lok Nayak Hospital, Madhuri Kesari, 24, a private job employee, brought her husband who was vomiting blood. Both had been waiting for hours outside the OPD because the doctors had refused to see him. “We are trying to get in with the help of a known person; hope it works soon,” she said. The couple came from Greater Noida. Madhuri said she was the single earning member in her family and could not afford a private hospital near her home.

Anxiety hit 26-year-old Ram Gopal as he was not able to get any information about his wife Vineeta — who had given birth to their child the previous day. He had been waiting outside the emergency to get some update but to no avail. “They have put her in the COVID ward and are not letting me meet or see her. I don’t know how she is and no one is telling me anything,” he said.

Suresh Kumar, medical director at Lok Nayak Hospital said that non-COVID services are currently running at half capacity. Also, elective and non-emergency surgeries have been deferred.

OPD services at AIIMS hospital and all centres will continue to function with restricted registrations limited to only prior appointment patients, said an order dated January 7.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 10:45:53 am |