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Coronavirus | In Lucknow, a desperate search for a hospital bed

Oxygen cylinders being loaded, before being transported to hospitals for Covid-19 patients, amid the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country, in Lucknow, Thursday, April 15, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

COVID-19 patients in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh continued to struggle to find beds in hospitals while the mounting cases of the disease forced the State government on Friday to declare a weekly shutdown in both rural and urban areas on Sundays.

The State recorded 27,426 new cases and 103 deaths in the last 24 hours, with 6,958 cases and 35 deaths in Lucknow alone, as per health department figures.

Among those bereaved is physiotherapist Ashish Srivastava, who said he had driven around city hospitals with his 73-year-old father desperate to find a bed but none would take him in, either demanding a COVID-19 report first or citing lack of beds.

Mr. Srivastava said he had dialled the COVID centre for three-four days but they did not admit his father, who had tested positive. “We kept waiting outside the hospital with the oxygen. Despite registering several times at the COVID centre, he didn’t get the bed,” he said, adding that no official offered help despite their pleas.

A diabetic with breathing problems, Mr Srivastava’s father passed away in a private hospital.

Retired district judge Ramesh Chandra lost his wife who was also denied admission in several hospitals. He alleged that he had been given false assurances of help by officials which resulted in him losing precious time. Alleging that his wife had died due to the negligence of the administration, Mr Chandra said the couple had been administered Covaxin shots but still ended up with the disease.

Mr. Chandra says he first took his wife to a government hospital but they said they could not accommodate her. “They made us wait for six-seven hours and told us to take the patient away. It would be at own our risk if we let her stay there, they warned us,” Mr. Chandra said.

He then tried other hospitals but after they refused, he approached a major private hospital where he was told they did not carry out COVID tests and would admit her only after one. Mr Chandra says he made calls to the several numbers provided by the administration but nobody came home with medicine or admitted her to the hospital.

“They kept us hanging. She died at home. They left her to die. Had they told us they can't arrange anything, I would have made alternate arrangements elsewhere in Gonda district,” he said.

Patients and their kin are also dialling the emergency services of the U.P. police as they struggle to find beds in hospitals or get tested. A construction contractor Vikash Singh’s father tested positive in a private laboratory on Thursday but it was only after a lot of struggle they got the status updated on the government’s portal, which is necessary to get admitted to a hospital. Mr. Singh tried private hospitals but was told they don’t have beds. His father is stranded at home.

“Doctors have asked him to get a CT Thorax done. But I cannot figure out how we will do that,” said Mr. Singh.

Anurag Mishra’s father, a retired government employee, tested positive on Wednesday but till Friday, the family was no closer to finding a hospital bed. They have tried calling the helpline numbers issued by the government but to no avail.

“He is in the house and has difficulty in breathing. There is no oxygen available. Since 3 a.m. I have been continuously on the phone. I have the entire list of oxygen suppliers kept with me but either their numbers are engaged for hours or unreachable or unresponsive,” said a desperate Mr. Mishra.

He says that private hospitals told him they would allot a bed to the patient only after the approval of the chief medical officer, a claim which would not be independently verified.

Despite complaints, Additional Chief Secretary (information) Navneet Sehgal said there was no shortage of oxygen cylinders in the State. The government on Thursday issued instructions that all medical oxygen being supplied for industry work should be stopped immediately and the entire supply be made available only to hospitals.

There is a fast-increasing demand for medical oxygen in COVID-19 hospitals due to rise in positive patients, said Anita Singh, commissioner food safety and drug administration.

Curbs announced

Announcing restrictions while avoiding the word lockdown, the government said all rural and urban areas would be shut on Sundays till further notice.

The decision was taken by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at a high-level meeting, said the government. On Sundays, only cleaning, sanitisation and emergency services would be operative.

Those caught without a mask would be fined ₹1,000 while the penalty will increase ten-fold for the second offence, Mr. Adityanath directed officials.

With the conversion of KGMU and Balrampur hospitals in Lucknow as dedicated COVID-19 centres, Mr. Adityanath said an addition of 4,000 beds would be made in Lucknow. Also, the DRDO would also set up a 1,000-bed COVID-19 hospital, further increasing the capacity.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 4:33:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-in-lucknow-a-desperate-search-for-a-hospital-bed/article34339644.ece

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