India’s Covid-19 patients give up waiting as hospitals buckle

Some patients have died in waiting rooms or outside the overwhelmed clinics.

A health care worker assisting a woman weeping on the floor
Many Covid-19 patients in India have given up waiting at hospitals as beds, oxygen and medical workers are in short supply amid the devastating second wave of the coronavirus in the country. Picture: Abdul Goni from Pixabay

PRETORIA, May 3 (ANA) – India’s health-care system has been stretched to the limit by the second wave of Covid-19, with beds, oxygen and medical workers in short supply, prompting some patients to leave before recovering, CNN reported on Monday.

The US broadcaster said the situation is so dire that some Covid-19 patients have died in the waiting rooms or outside the overwhelmed clinics.

“Many patients have given up on hospital treatment, because they know oxygen tanks are scarce and beds are often shared,” the broadcaster said in its report.

The BBC said those who choose to remain end up waiting for up to 12 hours to get whatever comes first, a bed or oxygen. Even after receiving an oxygen tank, there are concerns that another won’t be available once it empties.

“Once you’ve used up your main tank, there is nothing to fall back on,’’ the BBC quoted a doctor as saying.

The British broadcaster cited Dr Gautam Singh, who runs the Shri Ram Singh hospital, saying he has 50 Covid-19 beds and space for 16 ICU patients, but has had to refuse admissions as there is no guarantee of oxygen supply.

“It’s a battle we are fighting every day. Half of my hospital staff are on the road with cylinders to get them filled every day, going from one place to another,’’ he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, government officials said there is no shortage of oxygen, but that the challenge has come from transportation, the BBC added.

According to India Today, Delhi alone reported more than 20,000 new infections and 407 deaths on Sunday.

The chief minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, announced on Twitter that the lockdown will be extended by another week.

India Today quoted the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) as saying that the numbers of Covid-19 and bed occupancy in the dedicated Covid-19 hospitals are very high.

“…Therefore, in order to contain the spread of the virus and break the transmission chain, the curfew needs to be extended for another week in the territory of NCT of Delhi,” the DDMA said.

India is experiencing a devastating second wave of the pandemic, with more than 19.9 million infections and 218,959 deaths.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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