Coronavirus crisis: Woman dies at hospital gate as oxygen runs out

Updated: Jul 11, 2020, 06:54 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

The octogenarian was brought in an ambulance to Kaul City COVID Hospital, in Vasai West, which allegedly refused to admit her

Kaul City Hospital, a COVID facility in Vasai. Pics/Hanif Patel
Kaul City Hospital, a COVID facility in Vasai. Pics/Hanif Patel

An octogenarian COVID-19 patient died outside a Vasai hospital — which allegedly refused to admit her - on Wednesday, as her ambulance ran out of oxygen after over four hours of waiting. The woman had tested positive on July 8 and was brought to the hospital around 5 pm by her family, who were pleading with the authorities to treat her, but to no avail.

THE 82-year-old retired government teacher had developed weakness on July 4. A local doctor, Dr. Pavan Pathak, did a consultation over WhatsApp and recommended that she be admitted to the privately-run non-COVID IASIS Hospital at Evershine, Vasai as her body was low on sodium. "She was admitted to the ICU and was administered oxygen. On July 5, the doctors at IASIS Hospital started pressuring me to get her tested for COVID as per protocol," said the woman's 45-year-old son requesting anonymity.

'Threatened by hospital'

"I told the doctors that my mom is unwell due to her advanced age and COVID-19 test is not required. On July 5, Dr Ajay Dubey at the hospital threatened my brother saying if we don't get her tested, they'd discharge her. Neither the doctors nor the nurses cooperated with us and were very rude," the man said.

The family said ambulance provided by  IASIS Hospital did not have enough oxygen;The family said ambulance provided by IASIS Hospital did not have enough oxygen

Meanwhile, the woman was shifted from the ICU to a non-ICU room. "I contacted Dr Pathak about the IASIS Hospital staff's rude behaviour as he had recommended we go there but he too shouted at me for no reason," said the man who is a businessman.

Dr. Pathak told mid-day that the woman was weak and having problem breathing. "We had been telling her son to get a COVID-19 test done as she was symptomatic, but he did not pay heed to us. At last, he got convinced on July 6 and her swabs for testing were collected," Dr. Pathak said. "When she tested positive for COVID-19, her son panicked."

The son, on the other hand, alleged that the hospital had stopped giving the woman medicines for diabetes and blood pressure since July 6. "The doctor and nurses stopped visiting my mother. On the same night, the hospital staff told me to vacate the bed," the man added.

'COVID hospital refused admission'

On July 7, the woman tested positive. "We tried to contact several hospitals but no beds were available. A friend suggested that we go to Nair hospital in Mumbai but the ambulance refused to take us without a booking confirmation. On July 8, a staffer from IASIS Hospital told me that one bed at the Kaul City COVID-19 hospital has been booked for us and I must take my mother there," the man said.

the 82-year-old woman was a retired government teacher.  PICS/HANIF PATEL
The 82-year-old woman was a retired government teacher

IASIS Hospital arranged a non-AC ambulance for the woman and they left for the Kaul City COVID hospital at 4.30 pm. "The ambulance did not have enough oxygen. At Kaul City hospital, they refused to admit my mother saying that no doctor from IASIS Hospital informed them about the referral," said the man.

The woman was conscious when they reached the hospital. "I kept pleading with the doctors at Kaul City but they did not admit my mother. She had been telling me that she is feeling uncomfortable. The oxygen ran out and she died around 9.30 pm. We tried to resuscitate her but she became motionless after waiting for more than four hours at the hospital gate," the man said.

'Will take legal action'

The hospital then agreed to wrap her in a bag and her body was taken to a morgue in Nalasopara East. "Next day, the hospital staff dumped her body on the funeral pyre mercilessly. We relatives were helpless and could not do anything," the man said, adding that he plans to take legal action against the staffers at both hospitals.

The administrative head of IASIS hospital, Sushil Kumar told mid-day, "Our senior doctors had spoken to the RMO of Kaul City which is a COVID-19 hospital. The relatives of the elderly patient wanted an ICU bed but it is not available there. The condition of the elderly woman was better when she was discharged from IASIS but since she had COVID-19, we had to send her to a treating hospital. The allegation of rude behaviour by our hospital staff is baseless."

aul City Hospital, the COVID-19 facility in Vasai West;
Kaul City Hospital, the COVID-19 facility in Vasai West

"It is the IASIS Hospital's fault as we were told by them that the patient is stable on room air with 90/92 saturation. But when she reached here, her saturation level of oxygen was only 47 and in that condition, she immediately needed an ICU and ventilator. IASIS Hospital gave us a misleading report of the patient. At our hospital, 16 out of 43 are oxygen beds, all occupied. We don't have ventilators or ICU beds. Our doctors had suggested that the relatives take her back to IASIS Hospital but they did not go," Dr. Ashutosh Yejare, in-charge of Kaul City COVID Hospital told mid-day.

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