Sandeep Singh: Delhi’s Healthcare System Has Collapsed
Some are dying in hospitals, others are dying on the streets in front of them
April 20, 2021 | 2.5 min. read
COVID cases are increasing.
Hospitals are overburdened.
Oxygen stock is depleting.
Some are dying in hospitals, others are dying on the streets in front of them.
On Monday an ambulance brought a patient to Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital. There were no beds available. The patient took his last breath in the ambulance and his son broke down in tears.
“What can I do with money if it could not help us in getting treatment? We tried to find a bed at 20 different hospitals,” he shouted while throwing money on the ground.
This has become a common scene across the nation’s capital, and around India. People have been flocking to hospitals, to no avail.
I came across another woman, Kamla Devi, gasping for air inside the RML Hospital. Her family was told by doctors that there were no more beds available for COVID patients. Her son had already taken her to 10 different hospitals in the city where they faced similar experiences. Kamla Devi never got the treatment she needed and passed away in an ambulance.
I then met Maya Devi, a 45-year-old suffering from cancer and jaundice. She was brought to RML Hospital, but they faced the same obstacles like the others.
“RML doctors are saying to take her to Safdarganj, doctors at Safdarganj are saying take her to GB Pant, but GB Pant doctors are saying to take her somewhere else. What can we do,” her son tells me.
After failing to get her admitted to any hospital, her family decided to take her home.
In desperation, it has now become common for people to take to Twitter and other social media platforms searching for beds, medicine, and oxygen tanks. It is not the thousands of BJP IT Cell members helping people find hope in these times, but regular folks assisting one another online in whatever way they can.
Sheel Kaur, a 76-year-old woman, was living in an old age home in Delhi’s Rajendra Nagar when she tested positive for COVID-19. She too was brought to RML Hospital, but doctors told her as well that there are no beds available. After appealing on social media, she was able to find a bed in another hospital in Delhi when a local politician got involved.
Due to the rise in COVID cases, Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, announced a lockdown that will extend to April 26.
“Delhi’s health system has reached its limits. Lockdown period will be used to arrange oxygen and medicine,” he said.
After Kejriwal announced the lockdown, migrant labourers started leaving the city for their homes in UP and Bihar. Delhi’s Anand Vihar Bus stand was a sight to see where thousands were waiting for buses to go their home towns and villages. Another neglected victim of the government’s poor pandemic preparation.
Gangaram, a rickshaw puller, was unhappy as he could make only 50 rupees on Monday.
“I used to earn 300-400 rupees a day. Now my earning have decreased. The government has imposed the lockdown, if it extends the lockdown then I will run out of money. Eventually, I will be left with no option but to leave the city on Rickshaw for my village in Bihar,” he told me.
The situation is dire, and it is felt in the streets of the nation’s capital. The government has failed in preparing itself for this moment. Even the national media is beginning to cover the issue more critically.
Delhi’s healthcare system has collapsed.
Sandeep Singh hails from Machhiwara, Punjab. As an independent journalist, he has worked with many prominent Indian news organizations. Sandeep has been following the farmer’s protest in Punjab since its onset and traveled with them to Delhi. He spends most of his time at the Singhu border protest site. You can follow Sandeep on Twitter @Punyaab
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