Despite crossing districts in search for COVID-19 care, a 33-year-old resident of Tumakuru breathed her last on the footpath in front of Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) late on Tuesday night waiting for a bed.
Her oxygen saturation had dropped to 40 and the ambulance that carried her from Tumakuru to Mandya allegedly abandoned her in front of MIMS, disconnecting the oxygen supply.
The woman, Sumaiya Siddiqa, lost her husband four years ago. Her three children, aged eight, seven, and five, are now with their maternal aunt in Mandya.
Recounting the family’s search for a bed, her elder brother, Mohammed Ismail, told The Hindu that the family had asked her neighbours in Tumakuru to arrange for an ambulance and send her to Mandya as she did not have anyone to take care of her there after she tested positive.
“The neighbours were helpful and brought her to Mandya. We first took her to MIMS as she urgently needed an ICU bed. But the hospital did not have any beds and the ambulance driver refused to continue the booking. We arranged for another ambulance by paying ₹7,000 and took her to the government hospital in Channapatna but were forced to return back to MIMS as there were no beds in Channapatna too,” he said, stating that they made her lie down on the floor in front of the emergency at MIMS waiting for a bed.
Meanwhile, members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT), a volunteer group, who were following up the case, intervened and spoke to MIMS RMO Ravindra B. Gowda. “He told us that they had no oxygen or ICU beds available. We tried our best to arrange for oxygen but that was also not possible. Subsequently, although a doctor from MIMS came out and administered an IV injection, her condition had worsened by then and her saturation had dropped to 30. She died within half an hour after that around 10.30 p.m.,” said Tabraiz Amman, a volunteer from ERT.
Dr. Gowda said there was no record in the hospital to show that the woman was brought to MIMS. “Maybe she was brought to the hospital and when the attenders were informed about non-availibility of beds, they may have taken her to any other hospital. However, all the 303 oxygenated beds including 30 ICU ventilator beds were full on Tuesday and there was no way we could take in any patient,” he said.
“We also have a SARI ward with 150 beds and that was also full. We usually try to accommodate critical patients in other empanelled hospitals if our wards are full but are helpless if there are no beds available anywhere. If the woman was brought here we would have followed a simialr procedure,” the doctor added.