Coronavirus outbreak: Patient recollects a day in quarantine at Kasturba Hospital

Updated: 19 March, 2020 13:40 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Rahul Sharma spent five minutes talking to a neighbour who later tested positive for COVID-19. Soon, he was a suspected case and was marched off to Kasturba Hospital

Kasturba Hospital. File pic
Kasturba Hospital. File pic

Since the first case of Coronavirus was detected, 644 people have been admitted to Kasturba Hospital. To get tested, they had to spend a day in the quarantine ward. While some disapproved of the facilities, others were appreciative. We spoke to two patients (their names have been changed).

All names have been changed.

Rahul Sharma, 49 years
Rahul Sharma had a five-minute conversation with a neighbour who later tested positive for COVID-19. Before long, he was a suspected case and was advised to get admitted at Kasturba Hospital. A trip that Sharma had hoped wouldn't take too long, led to him spending the night with 30 other people there.

Following the directions of the civic official who visited his society, Sharma went to the hospital on March 13 afternoon and stayed there for the next 16 hours. "It took two hours to get my admission papers in order after which my samples were collected at 5:30 pm. At first there were six of us in the ward with around 30 beds but few hours later, 20 other people were brought in. What if any of them were infected? Isolation should be in smaller batches. What is the guarantee that we won't be affected by it?" he said. When he asked the nurses about it, he was told that they were doing their best.

Since Sharma had expected to spend only a couple of hours at the hospital, he didn't take any change of clothes. The clothes offered by the hospital weren't an option for him. "The clothes they gave had stains of bodily fluids and I wasn't comfortable wearing them. Some others had brought their clothes," he said.

Dinner comprising dal, rice, roti and a vegetable was served at 7.30 pm. Those who felt hungry later ended up ordering food from Zomato.

Tweets with pictures of a dirty toilet and sink have been doing the rounds on social media and Parekh confirmed them to be true. Sharma said that there are two western toilet seats, and one Indian toilet for the entire ward. During his stay, he was able to use the washroom only once at night since it was in a filthy condition in the morning. "During my stay, the staff cleaned the washroom only once at 6.30 pm. But in the morning, people had spat into the wash basin and even the toilets were too dirty to use. Considering the number of people in the ward, they should clean the toilet more frequently," he said. He added that he had also spotted a resident cat which walked in and out of the ward throughout the day.

Sharma pointed out that there are various loopholes in the process of screening and testing people which is complicated by the large number of people who are visiting the Out Patient Department. "At the OPD, people stand for two hours in queue waiting to be screened by the doctors who take their travel history and ask about their symptoms. When people are asked to get themselves admitted, majority of them are not willing due to the condition of the hospital and leave without getting tested," he said.

His reports took another couple of hours in the morning and he left the hospital only after 11 am on March 14. After he was discharged, he was asked to have vitamins for a week. "The doctors at the hospital are all qualified people. However, the country is not prepared for an epidemic and there is no sensitivity among the general public," he said.

Sampath Jain, 61 years
Sampath Jain was one of 40 people who had travelled to Dubai for six days as part of a tour group. He and his wife were admitted at Kasturba Hospital where they were tested for Coronavirus. Jain stayed at the hospital for a day and felt that the facilities provided were adequate. "We were given a change of clothes and decent meals on time. I had no symptoms and as soon as we got our reports from the doctor, we could leave," he said. Jain added that men and women are kept in separate wards and given masks at the time of admission which they have to wear until they are discharged.

City's count up to 16
The number of cases of Coronavirus continued to rise as one new patient was reported on Wednesday taking the city's count to 16 and two other positive cases were reported from other parts of the state. A day after one of the patients who tested positive died, civic officials said that one of the patients is in a critical condition and is being monitored closely.

174 spitters fined
After increasing the fine by five times, the BMC fined 174 people for spitting in public places on Wednesday. Maximum number of spitters were recorded in Kandivli (30) and Borivli (25). Each was fined R1,000. The civic body collected R1,74,000 on day one itself of the new fine. "People should understand the gravity of their actions in a situation like this," said an officer from BMC's solid waste department.

Inputs by Prajakta Kasale

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First Published: 19 March, 2020 07:09 IST

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