Agra COVID crisis deepens as cases surge

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Agra (UP), Apr 24 (PTI) Renu Singhal had been seeking hospital admission for her husband, gasping for breath. She was turned away by three-four private hospitals and after being denied an ambulance, she reached a government facility here in an auto-rickshaw. She even performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on her husband, but could not save his life.

The incident took place on Friday. Eyewitnesses to the incident said Renu Singhal, resident of Awas Vikas Sector 7, had brought her husband Ravi Singhal (47) at the Sarojini Naidu Medical College (SNMC) and Hospital. Her husband was facing breathing problems and in desperate attempts to save him, Renu gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to him, they said.

He was declared dead by SNMC doctors.

Reports of hospitals refusing admissions to patients have become common in the city of the iconic Taj Mahal. The denials pose hazards to those who are critically ill. The city residents are running from pillar to post either to get their ailing family members admitted to hospitals or to procure medical oxygen and medicines. Or, as some said, it was a combination of the two factors.

When contacted, Agra Chief Medical Officer RC Pandey said the district is reeling under the shortage of medical oxygen. 'We are managing it according to the availability,' he said. The CMO, however, claimed that beds are available for serious patients in Agra hospitals.

Many people complained that they are forced to wait for hours, roaming from hospital to hospital in search of a bed.

On Saturday, a resident complained that his mother-in-law was denied admission to hospital and claimed that the delay led to her death.

Meera Devi, a 52-year-old patient from Gari Bhadoria, died due to unavailability of ventilator at a private hospital. She was coronavirus positive and was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Agra.

According to her son Mahendra Pal Singh, 'It took several efforts to admit my mother to a private hospital, but due to unavailability of ventilator, she could not be saved.' 'My mother was denied admission by three-five private hospitals and she did not get admission to government hospitals as well. She was, however, admitted to a private hospital, where she died due to lack of ventilator,'Mahendra Pal Singh said.

According to the CMO, Agra has 34 dedicated hospitals for COVID-19 patients and the government-run SNMC has about 290 beds in COVID ward.

Agra on Saturday reported 530 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the infection count to 16,726. The district has an active case count of 4,136 and death toll of 217. A total of 12,373 people have so far recovered from the infection in Agra, which has a COVID-19 recovery rate of 73.97 per cent, according to official data. PTI COR CK