Narrative shared by Mr S C Sharma (PGP 1971). With regular services shut during the lockdowns, there were many instances where people suffered, even for essential healthcare services. Mr Sharma shares below one such incident, involving his son.
There is a famous saying from the Ramayana – ‘जाके पैर ना फटी बिवाई, वो क्या जाने पीर पराई ‘. Meaning those who did not know the pain of cracked heels, how can they imagine or feel the problem or pain of others. Therefore, those who did not face any hardships during lockout cannot imagine the plight of those who suffered due to certain oversight of Govt decisions.
However, my aim is not to criticize any Govt decision, as taking and implementing decisions for a population of 130 crores in a vast country is a gigantic task and bound to have some problems. I only wish to highlight some shortcomings of the immediate lockdown on certain sections of people or restrictions placed on some activities, particularly the medical facilities. Everyone is well aware of the problems faced by migrant workers, but few know that even families at home bore the brunt of these decisions.
I am narrating the harrowing experience faced by my family.
During lock down, after few days almost all the hospitals stopped OPD and admissions to even emergency cases without confirmation of COVID-19 test results. The family doctors had closed their clinics and were advising over phone to treat minor problems. Unfortunately, during this period, my son suddenly developed very high fever. The fever was 1040 and he was not responding to medicines. For almost two days, we struggled with sleepless nights of continuous sponging and monitoring of temperature. The entire family was worried that this may be COVID-19 infection. However, the blood test done, came positive for Dengue.
Now starts the story of our torture and harrowing experience.
With reducing blood platelet count rapidly headed to 33000 in 5 days, there would have been an urgent need to hospitalize him if same would go below 25000. So, I inquired with 3 of the top hospitals in my locality for emergency admissions. All replied that they will not admit him till he is tested for the novel coronavirus. We told them that it is a confirmed case of Dengue, but they said it is the protocol which they have to follow. Alternatively, they will admit and keep him in corona ward with corona infected patients.
I wondered how and where do I get him tested? The hospital informed that they are helpless lest they will be sealed if this protocol is not followed. Desperate, I started my inquiry with a few labs only to discover that there is a waiting period of 4-5 days. That meant that I had to wait for 6 days for getting the test results, by which time the platelet count would be at dangerously low levels. With some luck and help of a friend, I managed to arrange immediate testing and got the result next day, which as expected was negative. My family doctor advised me to wait a day more as hospitalization was risky due to low immunity and high risk of infection there. Luckily, health improved in the next 48 hours with platelet count also showing positive results. Eventually, he recovered completely without having to undergo hospitalization.
However, I shudder to think that what can happen in the absence of non-availability of medical treatments in hospitals for other medical emergencies during the lockdown!
It seemed that authorities thought that all other diseases will vanish during corona and need not be treated. They forgot that deaths due to other diseases are also huge in number and people cannot be left helpless and unattended.
The purpose of this article is to draw attention that decisions should be taken by considering all options and covering maximum possibilities ensuring that no individual of any class or section of society is impacted adversely due to any oversight.