Delhi

Police rescue ‘lonely’ elderly COVID patient

An octogenarian struggling with poor health and suspected of being infected with COVID-19 was taken to the hospital by the Delhi Police on Sunday.

Living alone at his central Delhi house, 80-year-old Murlidhar Tahiliani, who served as an under secretary at Ministry of Home Affairs, suffered breathlessness on Sunday morning. His 23-year-old tenant saw him visibly facing respiratory problems and shivering, and called up Mr. Tahiliani’s friend and his daughter.

“Uncle had been ill for the last 10 days. He had fever, and for the last five-six days was only taking water,” he said. Mr. Tahiliani had made the tenant read two pages pasted outside his house. One with important numbers and another which read: “My body may be given to Delhi Police for further necessary action and disposal. No chautha or uthala to be performed, except telephonically, just for courtesy sake”.

Mr. Tahiliani’s daughter Gitika called the police after which Constable Raju Ram and two of his colleagues reached the house wearing PPE kits to rescue the elderly man. “He was reluctant and refused to come down. I told him that we are only taking him for medication and then will bring him back,” the officer said.

They took Mr. Tahiliani to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

‘He is stable now’

Constable Raju said they were able to secure a bed after a lot of difficulty. Mr. Tahiliani is stable now, the officer said.

This wasn’t the first time Mr. Raju has helped someone in need during the pandemic. Two-three days ago, Mr. Raju also provided assistance to a woman living alone and infected with the virus. The officer who stays in barracks in the police station hasn’t seen his family in Rajasthan for the last 16 days and doesn’t know when he’ll get to see them.

“My wife and kids are scared but this is my duty and they appreciate me for what I do,” the officer said.

A few media reports said the elderly man was allegedly abandoned by his family due to the fear of contracting COVID-19. Ms. Gitika told The Hindu she was furious about how the incident was being played out on social media. “I made over 150 calls to several authorities for help,” she added.

Ms. Gitika lives with her mother, a retired government official, in Kalkaji . “No one knows my side of the story. My father separated from my mother and us 35 years ago because of personal differences and was not in touch with any of his siblings as well,” she said.

Ms. Gitika said that she was the one who called the police to reach the father’s house and then made over 150 calls to several authorities for help. “I couldn’t and cannot visit the hospital because I have to take care of my 75-year-old mother. What if something happens to her,” she said, adding that she has been calling her father since Sunday night but he hasn’t been taking her calls.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 1:45:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/police-rescue-lonely-elderly-covid-patient/article34362416.ece

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