No beds for COVID positives with other serious ailments

Updated: Apr 25, 2020, 08:12 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Husband runs pillar to post to get wife with renal failure admitted, hospitals say they don't have COVID-19 wards with dialysis set-up

The building in Ghatkopar where the family stays has been sealed by the BMC
The building in Ghatkopar where the family stays has been sealed by the BMC

With a large number of people testing positive for COVID-19, the lack of beds has become a matter of concern, especially for those also suffering from other serious ailments.

A family of four from Ghatkopar East was made to run pillar to post after the dialysis centre that treats the mother thrice a week said that she has tested positive for Coronavirus.

A test was briefly made mandatory for all dialysis and chemotherapy patients.

The woman's husband and their two sons are in home quarantine at their Garodia Nagar residence. "My wife is having multiple health issues – diabetes, hypertension, a stent in the heart and since November last year, she is on dialysis because of renal failure," the husband said.

"We were about to leave for her dialysis on Thursday afternoon, but the centre called to say that my wife has tested positive and can't come for dialysis and must be hospitalised. The ward office has been told and they will visit soon," he said.

Civic, pvt hospitals refuse

"We reached out to BMC and private hospitals but they refused to admit her saying there are no beds, especially for high-risk patients like my wife, who needs dialysis," the husband said.

"We contacted local MLA Parag Shah, who was kind enough to make an arrangement at SevenHills Hospital. But before we could get an ambulance arranged, Shah called saying there are no beds and he is looking for options," he added.

Around 11 pm on Thursday, the family learnt of an available bed in Horizon Hospital at Ghodbunder Road. They shelled out R14,000 for an ambulance. "Most ambulances are not willing to take COVID-19 patients. She was finally admitted at 2.30 am in the ICU," the husband said.

Speaking to mid-day from the ICU, the woman said that she has no symptoms so far. The husband is also worried about the dialysis as the technician at the hospital has contracted the virus and is admitted to another hospital run by the same group in Naupada, Thane.

"With no technicians available, I am worried about water retention in her body. She already missed her dialysis on Thursday. We are hoping something works out," he said.

"I am taking precautions by reducing my water intake. I am wearing masks and there are other COVID-19 patients in the hospital. I am fine and confident of returning home soon," the woman said.

The husband who runs a trading business has not worked for a month amid the lockdown. "We took a loan from our known circle to get my wife admitted and for the ambulance. I am in touch with Shah and am grateful for his support," the husband added.

A doctor from Rajawadi hospital, the nearest COVID-19 designated hospital to the family, said they admit suspected cases. "The dialysis centre is run through a third party and patients are already being taken with prior appointments. We do not have a dialysis unit in the isolation ward and therefore the patient cannot be admitted in Rajawadi," the doctor said.

'Stay home'

"It is seriously an unfortunate situation, where beds are full. There is more concern for those already suffering from other ailments," MLA Shah told mid-day.

"I even tried to refer the family to BYL Nair Hospital but they do not have dialysis for COVID-19 patients. I have formed a group of doctors from Ghatkopar, requesting them to chip in and provide assistance in recommending or arranging beds for such patients," he said.

"The situation will get more challenging now with more people contracting the virus. We are already running short of medical resources," Shah said.

He gave the example of a patient who was refused to be taken by Rajawadi and Bhabha hospitals. He was then taken to a private hospital in Dadar which he could not afford. Then a patient got discharged at Rajawadi and he was accommodated there.

Expert speak

Senior nephrologist Dr Bharat Shah said, "This is unfortunate. Many dialysis centres are closed or are shutting down as patients contract Coronavirus. The State should make provisions for dialysis centres in isolation. Adequate number of technicians and machines should be made available."

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