On April 22, Bhadohi district administration released a list of six private hospitals that have been converted into COVID care centres. But Gaon Connection found that five of these hospitals do not have medical-grade oxygen. Hospitals claim they were not consulted before taking the decision.
While hospitals push the blame back on the district administration, patients and their families struggle. (Representational Image/UNICEF)
Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh
On learning that the district administration has come out with an order notifying six private hospitals as COVID19 care centres, 33-year-old Rahul Kumar took his coronavirus infected mother to one such facility in Uttar Pradesh’s Bhadohi.
The shock of his life awaited Kumar at the hospital.
On reaching the hospital on the morning of April 25, he realised that there was no arrangement for medical-grade oxygen in the COVID hospital.
“When the doctor at the village told me that her oxygen level was below 80, I took my mother to the hospital with the hope that she will be treated well. I made rounds of many hospitals with my 60-year-old mother who struggled to breathe all along. Within hours, her struggle ended… we couldn’t save her,” Kumar told Gaon Connection with a broken voice.
In the wake of rising coronavirus infections in the district, which is situated 280 kms from state capital Lucknow, the Bhadohi administration came out with an order on April 22 to convert six private hospitals into COVID19 facilities. These include Surya Trauma Centre, Anand Hospital, Jeevan Jyoti Hospital, Pratima Hospital, Zia Heart Care and Jeevandhara Hospital.
Three nodal officers, with each in charge of two such hospitals, have been appointed by the district administration.
The Member of Legislative Assembly from Bhadohi, Ravindra Nath Tripathi has shared the press statement amongst people, informing them about the COVID19 hospitals in the district.
But Gaon Connection found that out of these six COVID19 facilities, five had no arrangement to supply oxygen (when Gaon Connection called them on April 27) to patients who needed oxygen support.
Yesterday, April 27, KP Jaiswal from Jeevan Jyoti Hospital in Bhadohi told Gaon Connection, “At present there is no arrangement for oxygen supply for COVID19 patients at my hospital. The COVID care ward is under construction and will be ready by tomorrow (April 28). We have demanded oxygen from the district administration.”
Meanwhile, Gaon Connection reached out to the other COVID hospitals for their comments and learnt that they were not consulted or asked about their oxygen support arrangements before the press statement was released on April 22.
“Why was such a claim made in the press release, this question can be better answered by the district administration itself. We were not asked or consulted. I have a general ward for patients, no specialised COVID19 facility. We cannot admit Corona infected patients along with the general patients,” DK Singh from Anand Hospital told Gaon Connection.
Also, the nodal officer for Zia Heart Care and Jeevandhara Hospital told Gaon Connection that there is no arrangement for oxygen as of now. “Hospitals are demanding around 20 cylinders of oxygen, but we ourselves don’t have the stock presently,” he said.
DK Singh from Anand Hospital also stated that the hospital doesn’t have any oxygen cylinder and that the hospital has applied for the same.
While hospitals push the blame back on the district administration, patients and their families struggle.
On April 26, Ramakant (changed name), a resident of Handia, about44 kms from Bhadohi, brought his wife to one of these COVID19 facilities after receiving information about the facility on WhatsApp.
He too realised that there was no arrangement for oxygen support and rushed to the government hospital where he got his wife admitted on oxygen support after a chaotic scrambling between these dedicated private COVID19 hospitals.
“I got the list of these private hospitals on WhatsApp. I called some of these hospitals and they told me that there is no arrangement for oxygen support. The government press statement clearly mentioned that these Corona facilities have arrangements for oxygen,” an irritated Ramakant said.
“Lastly, I took my wife to Maharaja Balwant Singh government hospital where I got her a bed with an oxygen support after hours of wait,” he added.
Of the six private hospitals that have been notified as COVID care centres in Bhadohi, Gaon Connection learnt that only Surya Hospital had an arrangement for oxygen supply. However, on April 27 when this reporter called the hospital, he was informed by nodal officer Ashfaq Ahmad that there has been no stock of medical-grade oxygen for the last 24 hours. The oxygen cylinders had been sent to Chadauli, about 86 kms away, for refilling.
According to Jaiswal of Jeevan Jyoti Hospital, the information on dedicated COVID centres should have been shared after proper arrangements had been made. “I have received almost 500 phone calls till now. The patients are in distress but I have to refuse them because I have no arrangements to admit COVID19 patients,” he told Gaon Connection.
Ashfaq Ahmad, nodal officer in charge of Anand Hospital and Surya Trauma Centre told Gaon Connection that although he has applied for oxygen arrangements, the demands are yet to be met by the administration.
Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Officer of Bhadohi, Laxmi Singh told Gaon Connection, “We have asked the hospitals to get their oxygen cylinders filled.” When informed that many of these hospitals don’t have oxygen cylinders, Singh said, “For this, you’ll have to talk to DM madam.”
To get a clarification on the matter, Gaon Connection called up the office of the District Magistrate Aryaka Akhoury on April 27 but was informed that she was busy in a meeting. Her comments would be updated once she is available for a response.
As per the data received on April 26, Bhadohi recorded 175 new COVID19 infections and a total of 51 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded in the district till now.