In Mumbai, woman dies after shuttling between hospitals

Hope of deliverance: A family gathers on the terrace of their house in Bhendi Bazaar to sight the moon on Friday, ahead of the start of the holy month of Ramadan.   | Photo Credit: Salman Ansari

A 44-year-old woman and mother of four girls died of a brain haemorrhage after being shuttled between three hospitals in the city on Wednesday. Her last rites were performed the same night.

Sayed Arshi, a resident of Bhendi Bazaar with a history of heart ailments, was moved between JJ Hospital and Nair hospital before being taken to KEM Hospital, where she breathed her last within five hours of admission. The family did not take her to a private hospital as many private hospitals in south Mumbai have been shut owing to employees contracting COVID-19.

Sayed Aejaz, her younger brother, said, “She started experiencing extreme weakness on Wednesday. Her pulse rate was high and she could not speak. I got a call from her house and we took her in our car to JJ Hospital, where the security guard said the hospital was shut.” They then rushed her to Nair hospital, which is now treating only COVID-19 patients. When doctors refused to admit her, the family finally took her to KEM Hospital.

‘Poor service’

Mr. Aejaz said, “When we reached KEM, there was only one doctor. We found a stretcher and took her to the casualty ward. We waited there for 30 minutes, but she didn’t get even basic treatment. After multiple requests, a trainee doctor gave her an injection.” He said they then took her to the emergency ward but no one attended to her. “My sister’s husband placed an oxygen mask on her face as nobody was treating her. There were two nurses who were rude and yelling at people. At least six other patients were in the ward awaiting treatment. We were shocked to see the state of affairs at the hospital. Over the next three to four hours, we witnessed about 15 deaths in the ward,” he said.

Doctors then advised her to undergo a CT scan. The report was expected in two hours, but Arshi died around 1.30 p.m. Mr. Aejaz said, “The hand of the intern who was administering the injection was shaking. She couldn’t even find the nerve. If two people are dying of the coronavirus, 20 others are dying because of lack of treatment. Nobody guided us or admitted her to the ICU. How do we tell her four daughters that their mother’s life could have been saved?” The daughters are aged 19, 16, 12 and nine.

Mumbadevi legislator Amin Patel, who helped the family admit Arshi to KEM Hospital, “I wish they had called me at JJ Hospital, I would have ensured that she got admitted there. The family was not aware that Nair hospital is now dedicated to treat COVID-19 patients. Valuable time was lost and she died. We are seeing this happening across Mumbai with beds and ambulances no longer available for non-COVID-19 patients. We need a live database or web application where a patient’s family can find out where the nearest bed is available and book it,” said Mr. Patel.

Dr. Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM Hospital, and Dr. Sanjay Surase, dean of JJ Hospital, did not respond to calls and messages.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 2:23:56 PM |

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