The tragedy in Delhi is that patients are not able to get treatment on time for Covid-19, even as CM Arvind Kejriwal keeps trying to portray publicly that the situation is under control. Take for example the case of an 80-year-old man who died before he could get a hearing for his case in High Court. The senior citizen had approached the Delhi High Court after he was refused admission at several hospitals for Covid-19 treatment. He had fallen sick on May 25 and his family alleges that he got infected with coronavirus at a private hospital in East Delhi where he was taken for treatment. This private hospital put him on a ventilator, charged a huge amount and then forced the patient’s family to take him to another hospital on the grounds that it was not equipped to handle Covid patients.
From here the apathy towards the patient increased — he was not able to get a bed even after visiting many hospitals. AIIMS, MAX Hospital and several others refused to admit the patient, saying there was no vacancy. Finally, the family approached the Delhi High Court and filed a petition on Wednesday, seeking the court’s intervention for a bed at a government hospital equipped with a ventilator. But sadly, the octogenarian passed away on Wednesday before the hearing.
There are many such cases in Delhi, where Covid-19 patients are not able to get treatment on time. This is despite CM Kejriwal launching a mobile application on Tuesday for information on vacant beds in hospitals in Delhi. The app is a failure, as people have not been able to get beds for Covid patients, despite the app showing availability.
Kejriwal has failed in his leadership role of taking everyone along in the fight against the pandemic. (Photo: Reuters)
Delhi now has the highest number of active cases of Covid-19 after Maharashtra. The capital has 15,311 active cases — a figure which has caused huge concern as the count of Covid cases increases daily. On May 28, Delhi crossed the 1,000-mark for daily cases, and since then, the numbers have been going up every day. The total number of cases in Delhi is over 26,000, with over 700 deaths.
CM Kejriwal instructed state-run hospitals that have been designated for Covid to upgrade their facilities in three weeks. This is a long period in a densely-populated city like Delhi, and preparations to upgrade should have been completed by now.
Lack of testing facilities is another major issue in Delhi. Eight labs have been stopped from testing for Covid with investigations pending against them. People are finding it difficult to get themselves tested. Delhi government also ran into a spat with RML regarding the testing. There is no coherence in the policy of the Delhi government. Dr Ambarish Satwik has gone on the record criticising the state government’s action against labs testing asymptomatic patients. Dr Satwik has said that any unrelated surgery on an asymptomatic Covid-19 patient can be catastrophic. A study published in The Lancet has confirmed that postoperative pulmonary complications occurred in at least half of the patients who underwent surgery but later tested positive for Covid-19.
It is a sad state of affairs that CM Kejriwal has to warn hospitals that are allegedly refusing to admit Covid-19 patients. It clearly shows that Kejriwal has failed in his leadership role of taking everyone along in the fight against the pandemic.
In a recent statement to the media, Kejriwal said, “Delhi government has made adequate arrangements for Covid-19 patients - in terms of the number of hospitals, beds in there, the ICU facility in those hospitals, and how many ventilators are there.” However it sounds hollow when one sees the reality on the ground.
The Delhi CM must understand that as a leader, he must use the government machinery to ensure proper implementation of norms and not threaten via the media. Leadership failure in handling the pandemic is costing the lives of citizens. The challenge was also highlighted by Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who advised the Delhi government to ramp up testing, containment and control. “As all districts of Delhi are now affected by Covid-19, the rising cases, high positivity rates and low testing levels in many districts are worrisome,” he had said in a media interaction.
To illustrate the sufferings of Delhiites, here are two tweets by a citizen — Amarpreet. In the first tweet, she mentions her plight that her father is being denied admission in LNJP hospital in Delhi despite having high fever and being corona positive.
My dad is having high fever. We need to shift him to hospital. I am standing outside LNJP Delhi & they are not taking him in. He is having corona, high fever and breathing problem. He won't survive without help. Pls help.— Amarpreet (@amar_hrhelpdesk) June 4, 2020
In the next tweet, barely an hour later, she says that her father is no more and that the government failed her.
He is no more. The govt failed us. https://t.co/uFJef9JxSA— Amarpreet (@amar_hrhelpdesk) June 4, 2020
I request CM Kejriwal to not fail any more citizens of Delhi.