COVID-19 impact: 'What do we do in a medical emergency?', ask Worli Koliwada residents

Updated: 10 April, 2020 08:42 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Worli Koliwada residents ordeal throws light on the urgent need to factor in medical emergencies in containment zones across the city

Worli Koliwada residents Purva and Darshan Keny
Worli Koliwada residents Purva and Darshan Keny

Medical emergencies are even more challenging in times like this when the city is under lockdown. And, when an entire locality like Worli Koliwada is sealed for days, problems are compounded.

As the area facing the sea remains shut, Dakshata Kalsekar, who stayed here before getting married, stressed that special arrangements must be made for medical emergencies. Kalsekar, who now lives in Goregaon with his husband, said, "My parents, brother and sister-in-law stay in Worli Koliwada. While the city has been treating Koliwada residents as villains, it is important to note that no planning went into providing options to people in case of medical emergencies."

Nightmare commute

As more parts of the city are being sealed off, Kalsekar said a dreadful ordeal faced by her brother Darshan Keny and his wife Purva recently compelled her to speak out. "Purva was in her eighth month of pregnancy and was carrying twins. On March 30, she started feeling uneasy, so they decided to go to her doctor at Shivaji Park. There was no transport and police stationed at Koliwada were not allowing cars to leave Worli."

Vidya Vilas PanditVidya Vilas Pandit

She added, "My brother tried calling 108 for ambulance but to no avail. Finally, they decided to walk the eight-minute distance to the bus stop. They took a bus and alighted at Dadar. After walking for another 10-12 minutes, they finally reached the doctor's clinic. But, by then, Purva was breathless. God bless the doctor, he immediately drove them to Raheja Hospital in Mahim in his car. The walk took a dreadful toll on her, they had to do an emergency delivery."

Kalsekar said the doctors at the hospital said any further delay could have proven fatal for Purva. She added, "She delivered twin baby girls, but they were weak and each weighed 1.5 kg as it was a premature delivery. They had to be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but Raheja Hospital had no space in their NICU so the babies had to be shifted to the Holy Family Hospital in Bandra." Purva had to be kept in ICU before being discharged a few days later, after which she went to her mother's home in the Eastern suburbs, Kalsekar said. She stressed, "We can never forget how we nearly lost Purva that day."

Vision needed

Koliwada resident Vidya Vilas Pandit, 70, who had accompanied Darshan and Purva on their frantic journey to Dadar and then Raheja Hospital, "I had an excruciating time even re-entering my home that night when I returned from the hospital. A civic worker told me, 'go back and stay at the hospital.' I was finally allowed to enter after a police officer intervened."

Both Dakshata and Vidya say, "We appreciate the tremendous job being done, but our vision must be long-term and approach should be practical, logical and compassionate. With more of the city's areas contained, this horrendous experience can unfortunately be that of others too. We must understand that lives are at stake, Corona or no Corona."

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First Published: 10 April, 2020 08:30 IST

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