Despite the massive outbreak of the disease in Pune, many private hospitals are refusing to accept patients who are not paying in advance, while government hospitals continue with their lackadaisical approach while treating them
Ashok Kumar | Clarion India
MUMBAI – The Covid-19 tragedy that has engulfed Pune, making it the worst-hit district in the country, is also seeing patients being refused admission at most hospitals and having to run from one medical facility to another. Tragically, after the death of patients, many of the relatives have to run around for cremations as well.
Two prominent Pune residents underwent such trauma and paid a heavy price on Wednesday – both were turned away from many hospitals and finally succumbed to Covid-19. Dattatraya Govind (popularly known as Datta Ekbote), saw a daughter and son die because of Covid a few days ago. Ekbote, who was 84, and also a former mayor of Pune, then got the disease, but was turned away by many hospitals. He finally got admitted to the state-owned Sassoon hospital, where the treatment was sadly lacking.
After some friends of his called Ajit Pawar, the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra and Girish Bapat, the BJP MP from Pune, he was finally provided proper treatment, but it was too late and he passed away on Wednesday. Worse, even his body was turned away by two cemeteries as they claimed there was no place for the cremation.
The other case relates to Pandurang Raikar, a reporter with TV9 channel in Pune. He had gone to his hometown Ahmednagar, where he got Covid and was taken to a hospital, which demanded Rs40,000 as advance. His family had to call up the district collector and other senior officials to get him admitted to another hospital. However, his condition deteriorated and he was not being given any treatment.
His family then moved him to Pune, above 60 km away, in an ambulance and was admitted to a hospital. But Raikar, 42, died early on Wednesday morning. Pawar has ordered a probe into the death of the journalist and the manner in which hospitals turned him away.
“Hospitals in Pune have become notorious for refusing ordinary patients, especially those from the middle-class and the poor,” Dr Zakir Moinuddin Shaikh, president, All India Qaumi Tanzeem, western Maharashtra, told Clarion India on Thursday. “Many private hospitals also admit patients and in their first reports there is no mention of the person suffering from Covid. However, after the patient’s death, some of the hospitals change the records and say death was due to Covid.”
There have also been cases where some private hospitals said a patient was suffering from Covid-19, but tests in government laboratories revealed it was negative.
With more than 1.8 lakh confirmed cases, Pune district is today the epicentre of Covid-19 in India. On Wednesday, it overtook Delhi with the growing number of Covid cases. According to Vikram Kumar, the city’s municipal commissioner, Pune has the highest active cases in India as it conducts the maximum number of tests, about 11,000 a day. It is also the only district in India where the number of active cases has crossed the 50,000-mark. It has almost 55,000 active cases now.