An inconsolable 30-year-old woman, on Tuesday, 13 April, confronted the health minister of Jharkhand, after her coronavirus-infected father, awaiting medical help for approximately half an hour in the parking lot of a Ranchi hospital, finally breathed his last.
“Mantriji, doctor-doctor chillate reh gaye. Koi doctor nahi aaya aadhe ghanta tak. Aap khali vote lene ke liye aate hain (Mr Minister, we cried for half-an-hour for a doctor, but no one came; you come only seeking votes),” the woman wailed, as she spotted Health Minister Banna Gupta, who had gone to visit the hospital’s COVID-19 ward.
Trigger warning: distressing visuals.
How Pawan Gupta Died
The woman had travelled all the way from Hazaribagh to Ranchi Sadar Hospital with her ailing father Pawan Gupta for his treatment. She said that, on reaching the hospital, no one came to check on her father. She kept asking for doctors, as her father drew his final breaths in the parking lot of the hospital.
Pawan Gupta was declared dead when the doctors finally went to check on him.
On being asked about the incident, the Jharkhand Health Minister informed that the woman’s father had passed away before his arrival at the hospital. He further said:
"“Anyone’s death is always a sad thing. I want to express my condolences, and whatever shortcomings there are, those will be pondered over.” " - Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta
Discussing the pandemic, Gupta told the press:
“The Coronavirus situation has suddenly intensified. But we will all come together and solve this problem.”
He also said that he believes his presence in hospitals and COVID facilities “will motivate doctors, paramedic staff and others to work harder”.
More Testimonies to a Floundering System
Meanwhile, in yet another incident, the brother of a deceased patient at Ranchi’s Paras Hospital is yet to find out whether his brother was Coronavirus positive or negative. He has alleged that the hospital gave false reports in the name of coronavirus treatment and billed them for it.
Srinivas says that while his brother was admitted only on 7 April, his reports are dated 3 and 4 April.
More visuals have emerged of patients waiting outside the hospital for beds, for oxygen cylinders and for treatment.
As per a report by The Indian Express, from early Wednesday morning:
Out of the 943 beds available in Ranchi’s private and government-run hospital, 879 were occupied.
In non-invasive and invasive ventilator supported beds, 234 out of 335 remained occupied.
The remaining 73 were empty at Sadar Hospital owing to various reasons.
'Three-Fold Rise in Cases Likely’
State Health Secretary Kamal Kishore Soan informed the media that the government has increased capacity at the city’s premier Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences hospital and added 240 oxygen beds at Sadar Hospital.
Soan also, however, shared that he has written to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Drugs Controller Of India, and Union Additional Secretary (Health), detailing the state’s immediate requirements amid the “huge” surge in cases, which, as per him, is likely to increase three-fold by April-end.
"“As on date we have 13,933 active cases. The number has approximately tripled in the last seven days. As per current growth rate, Jharkhand is likely to have 33,000 to 35,000 active cases by last week of April, leading to high requirement of ventilators. As such, it is requested to provide 1,500 ventilators so that the state may cater to the rise in number of COVID patients and provide them the required treatment.”" - State Health Secretary Kamal Kishore Soan, in a letter to Additional Health Secretary, on 12 April.
In his letter to Drugs Controller of India V G Somani on 10 April, Soan asked for Remedesivir, pointing out that there was an acute shortage of the drug in the state.
In his letter to ICRM dated 11 April, Soan requested for a genome sequencing machine, and suggested that the funds available under the Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Programme may be used for the same.
J’khand Govt Tarnished: Cong
Meanwhile, Dr Irfan Ansari, acting president of the Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee, hit out at Banna and lamented the ‘tarnish on the Jharkhand government’.
"“Health Minister is saying that he will increase beds at the hospital. But what has he been doing so far?” " - Dr Irfan Ansari
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)
. Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.J’khand COVID: Woman Tells Min How Her Father Died Awaiting HelpAmbedkar Jayanti: NCSC Grievance Portal Launched After My Petition . Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.