New Delhi and Meerut, India (CNN) – For three days, Goldie Patel, 25, wandered from hospital to hospital in the summer heat of New Delhi, desperately trying to find something that would make her husband breathe.
Patel, who was seven months pregnant with the couple’s first child, was turned away by four hospitals, who finally found someone to adopt him. But Kovid Sardar Patel, a makeshift facility for the epidemic in the suburbs of the capital, is begging her husband to leave as the level of maintenance at the hospital and care center is so low.
Sadanand Patel, about 30, says people are dying. He has less contact with doctors and less medication. With 80% of his lungs already affected, he fears what will happen if his health deteriorates.
“I am very scared,” Sadanand said of suffocation from his hospital bed on Saturday. “I don’t think they can save me if my health gets worse.”
With the increasing number of corona virus cases in India, the country’s health system has been extended beyond the point of breakdown. Beds, oxygen and medical staff are in short supply. Some govt patients are dying in waiting rooms or outside of overcrowded clinics before being seen by doctors.
Only a few COVID-19 patients are admitted to overloaded hospitals in India. But once inside, some face a different kind of horror: the lack of medical care or supplies as people around them die.
Competition against time
In February, authorities ordered the closure of the Govind Sardar Patel Care Center, believing that India had been hit by the virus.
When it became clear that this was not the case, the 500-bed facility was reopened April 26, With confusing scenes.
Local media reported that despite the large number of patients outside the hospital, very few people were admitted beyond capacity. Senior officials from the Ministry of Health and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, which runs the center, did not comment on CNN.
Sadanand was admitted the day after the hospital opened. When Goldie met him a few days later, the facility was packed, he said.
In the Cavernous warehouse-style facilities, some patients lie in beds made of cardboard. There are limited medications and Sadanand said he has only been in contact with the doctor once or twice in three days since he was admitted last Tuesday. He saw two men in a nearby bed screaming for medicine that they would die within hours of appearing to have run out of oxygen.
On Saturday, his fifth day at the center, at least five people around him died, he said. A corpse lay in her bed for several hours before being removed.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India Said The facility will be expanded to 2,000 beds with oxygen supplies to help alleviate the hospital’s shortage in the city last month. Already 40 doctors and 120 specialist paramedics have been sent to the center.
But that goal did not coincide with Sadanand’s experience.
“The government believes they have opened this hospital and patients here are being treated,” he said. “But really, none of that happened.”
Doctors occasionally examine patients, Sadanand said. If you need medical attention, you are worried that you will get too sick to ask for help. Sometimes he talks to a patient in a nearby bed and advises him to leave the center if he feels a little better.
“Lie in your bed and you will die because there is no one to call the doctor,” he said.
Others had a similar experience. Sarita Saxena told CNN on Friday that her brother-in-law was admitted to the center after being sent back by at least seven hospitals. He did not trust any doctor to treat patients; Only family and friends can take care of them. Those people are at risk of halving the cove because there are no walls inside the center to prevent it from spreading.
Others outside the hospital are concerned about the lack of care as they try to evacuate their family members.
Sadanand says he is very scared and has repeatedly asked a doctor to transfer him to another hospital. Goldie says he made the same request to his wife, but nowhere else gets him.
“He told me to take him out of this place and stay home. He’s not feeling well here. He’s very scared,” Goldie said Saturday.
“I tried to explain that if you stayed here, at least you would get oxygen.”
Oxygen supply is low
The Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College (LLRM) Hospital in Meerut, a neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh, has been flooded.
People are everywhere – on stretchers, tables, on the floor – sighing for oxygen. According to hospital staff, there are 55 beds for every 100 patients. There are only five doctors. Some patients are lying on the floor.
One of them is Kavita, 32, a mother of two, who has no last name. He has been struggling to breathe on the hospital floor for four days. He says he did not have oxygen and saw 20 people die.
“I worry,” he said. “I’m afraid to stop breathing,” he said.
Oxygen is a rare substance in India, which recorded more than 2.5 million cases last week.
Other countries have sent oxygen cylinders and concentrators to India. Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsha Vardhan said on Thursday that the country has enough oxygen and there is no need to panic.
“Oxygen was available in the right amount before and is still high now,” he told reporters outside the hospital. “We have many more oxygen sources in the country … whoever needs oxygen should get it.”
But hospitals are still struggling.
Some hospitals tweet emergency messages, tag official accounts, and ask patients for more oxygen to breathe.
Relatives of the patients stand in line for hours outside the oxygen filling centers with empty oxygen cylinders. Dr SCL Gupta, medical director of Batra Hospital, said 12 people, including a doctor, died at a New Delhi hospital on Saturday.
Some hospitals have warned that if they want to admit patients for treatment, they must get oxygen on their own.
“We have now said before admitting patients that if they are admitted here they will have to supply their own oxygen in an emergency,” Poonam Goyal, chief physician of Panchil Hospital in north Delhi, said on Saturday.
Outside the LLRM, patients’ relatives sped back and forth while waiting for news. Inside, LLRM administrator Dr Gyanendra Kumar said the hospital had enough oxygen, but not enough staff.
“We didn’t turn anyone over,” he said. “Before the corona virus, I had never seen a crisis like this, but I think we are handling this crisis properly.”
Lack of drugs
Although Goldie Patel is relieved that her husband is receiving oxygen, she worries about her general condition: without medication to treat her lung infection, the damage has spread to 80% of her lungs, CT scans show.
Every time he sits down, he starts coughing hard and his chest hurts, he said. At the hospital, they gave him food, water and oxygen, but little medicine; Hospital staff gave her antibiotics after she told staff she was going to commit suicide. On Friday, she went to the center to bring medicine for her husband, who is the sole source of income for the family.
“With oxygen, treatment is equally necessary,” Sadanand said. “You can’t live in the hope that you’ll be fine if you have oxygen.”
Dr. Chandrasekhar Singa, Senior Consultant in Pediatric Intensive Care, Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, New Delhi, said a patient with 80% lung infection should be treated with his antivirals, steroids and antibiotics. Oxygen. “By giving him oxygen, you buy yourself some time,” he said in general, with 80% saying the infection was “not good”.
Every two or three hours, Goldie calls her husband. They only talk for a few minutes before they can breathe.
“It feels dangerous,” he said. “I didn’t make him talk much. I’re tense all day.”
Goldie is scared of herself, she is seven months pregnant and does not know if she has a goiter. She has no symptoms but has not been tested because it costs 900 rupees (US $ 12). Still, she says she wants to support her husband. Both parents live in Uttar Pradesh and have no other support.
Both are frustrated by the ineffective response from the authorities. Sadanand said he would not have been involved with his wife if he had thought he was being treated properly.
“If someone is admitted and their treatment is started, you will not want your pregnant wife to go out during covit cases (try to find a facility for yourself),” he said. “In your mind, you will always worry about what will happen if he is infected with the corona virus.”
Julia Hollingsworth wrote and reported from Hong Kong. Announced by Sandy Sidhu from Hong Kong. Tanya Jain announced from Gurgaon, India. Elizabeth Joseph and Clarisa Ward were announced from Meerut, India. Vedika Sood, Manveena Suri, Swati Gupta, and Isha Mitra reported from New Delhi.
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