While Delhi’s official death toll due to dengue stands at six, records at Safdarjung Hospital show three more patients succumbed to the vector-borne disease in October. These deaths were not reported by civic authorities.
According to documents of the Centre-run hospital accessed by The Hindu, a 14-year-old girl from Okhla died on October 14, while an 18-year-old man from Karawal Nagar and a 43-year-old man from Sangam Vihar died on October 30 and October 31 respectively.
None of the five victims mentioned in the report issued by civic authorities on November 1 had been admitted to Safdarjung Hospital. The report said Delhi recorded 1,196 cases last month.
A senior civic body official said, “This included a six-year-old from Tri Nagar who died on October 15 and was admitted at Maharaja Agrasen Hospital (Punjabi Bagh). Another victim from East Punjabi Bagh, who died on October 20, was admitted at Saroj Super Specialty Hospital (Rohini). A 17-year-old from a jhuggi in Pitampura was also admitted at Maharaja Agrasen Hospital. The remaining deaths were of a nine-year-old who died on September 27 and was admitted at Fortis Hospital (Vasant Kunj), and a 14-year-old from West Punjabi Bagh who died on October 23 and was admitted at Maharaja Agrasen Hospital.”
The senior civic body official and Safdarjung Hospital officials refused to comment on the unreported deaths.
Family members and guardians of the three victims who died at Safdarjung Hospital have complained of medical negligence. “Despite his condition, he was not given an ICU bed due to unavailability. After hours of waiting, he was put on a ventilator-like system in the early morning hours. He did not get an ICU bed till the end,” said the guardian of the 18-year-old victim.
The father of the 14-year-old victim alleged that “doctors did not attend to my child’s condition in a proper manner”. He said, “Government hospitals have a history of providing insufficient care. The doctors only wanted to complete their shift, they were not bothered about the treatment. I ended up raising my voice after a point and guards were sent to restrain me. They behaved in a rude manner.”
‘Rise in patients’
According to data provided by civic authorities, Delhi recorded 1,537 cases of dengue as on October 30. However, as per sources, the total number of cases from just two major Delhi hospitals could be higher than the official figure for the entire city.
“On a 24-hour basis, at least 100 patients come in only for dengue-related cases,” said a source at Safdarjung Hospital. “Throughout October, we received about 80-100 cases of suspected and confirmed cases at the hospital every day. There were days when it was as high as 110-120 cases. A majority of these were later confirmed as dengue cases. No death has been reported so far at the hospital,” a source at LNJP Hospital said.
Earlier, the Delhi Government had announced that hospitals in the city could use one-third of the beds reserved for treating COVID-19 patients for treating patients of vector-borne diseases.