NEW DELHI, KOMPAS.com – As cases of the coronavirus have risen in India, the country’s health care system has become overloaded.
Limited supplies of bedding, oxygen and medical personnel. Several Covid-19 patients died in overwhelmed waiting rooms or outside clinics, before they even had time to be seen by a doctor.
Only a few Covid-19 patients who have been successfully treated in Indian hospitals have become critical.
But once inside, some face a different kind of terror. There was not enough medical care or supplies, only the dead were seen around.
Goldi Patel (25 years) told the terrible condition. For three days, he went from hospital to hospital in New Delhi’s scorching summer.
Frantically, she tried to find one that could keep her husband breathing.
Four hospitals turned down Patel, who was seven months pregnant with the couple’s first child, before finally finding one that could care for her husband.
But the level of care at the Sardar Patel Covid Care Center and Hospital, an emergency pandemic facility on the outskirts of the capital, is so lacking that her husband begged to leave.
To CNN she recounts the horror inside the hospital. Around Sadan and Patel (30 years), people are dying. He had almost no contact with doctors, and medicine was limited.
With 80 percent of his lungs already infected, he fears what will happen if his condition gets worse.
“I am very scared. If my health becomes critical, I don’t think they will be able to save me,” Sadanand said Saturday (1/5/2021) from his hospital bed, with great difficulty.
Race against time
In February, officials ordered the closure of the Sardar Patel Covid-19 Treatment Center, believing India had conquered the virus.
When it became clear that the pandemic was not over, the 500-bed facility reopened on April 26, causing chaos.
Local media reported that despite the large queues of patients outside the hospital, the number being treated was only a fraction of the capacity that should have been available.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Health and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, which run the center, did not respond to requests for comment CNN.
Sadanand was admitted the day after the hospital opened. When Goldi visited a few days later, the facility was busy, he said.
In this large warehouse facility, several patients lie on a bed made of cardboard.
His medication is limited, and Sadanand said he has only interacted with doctors once or twice in three days since he was admitted last Tuesday (27/4/2021).
He witnessed two men in a nearby bed screaming for medicine, only to die within hours when their oxygen seemed depleted.
On Saturday (1/5/2021), the fifth day at the center of Covid-19, according to him, at least five people around him had died. One corpse lay on the bed beside him for hours before being moved.
India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said last month that it would “rapidly” expand the facility to 2,000 beds with oxygen supplies, to help address the city’s lack of hospital space.
About 40 medical doctors and 120 expert paramedics have been dispatched to the center.
But that target was incompatible with Sadanand’s experience.
“The government thinks it has opened this hospital, the patients here have been treated. But actually, nothing like that has happened,” he protested.
“Doctors rarely see patients,” said Sadanand.
She was worried that if she needed medical attention, she would be too sick to ask for help. Sometimes he talks to patients in nearby beds who advise him to get out of the Covid-19 epicenter if he feels a little better.
“You will die lying in bed because there is no one to call the doctor,” he said.
There is no treatment
Other people have had the same experience. Sarita Saxena told CNN Friday (30/4/2021), that his brother-in-law was treated at the center after being rejected by at least seven hospitals.
He didn’t believe there were doctors treating patients, the only people who cared for them were family and friends.
Those people are at risk of catching Covid-19 because there is no wall in the middle to stop the spread.
Others outside the hospital were so worried about the lack of care that they attempted to have their relatives discharged.
Sadanand said he was so scared he repeatedly asked the doctor to transfer him to another hospital. He made the same plea to his wife – but nowhere else would it be, according to Goldi.