The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tourist tastes Calcutta therapy

Calcutta, April 15: Girlfriend in tow, he had come all the way from Japan for a taste of Calcutta. When he left today, he had only the bitter taste of its therapy in the mouth.

Down with fever shortly after his arrival, 25-year-old Oishi Hidiyuki was shunted from hospital to hospital on the suspicion that he was a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome patient that he never was.

Hidiyuki landed in Calcutta on April 4. Two days later, he suddenly got fever, caught a cold and had convulsions. He went to a doctor near his hotel on Free School Street, who advised immediate hospitalisation.

The same day, Hidiyuki got himself admitted to Kothari Medical Centre. A series of blood tests followed, including one for malaria. Once the malaria test proved negative, doctors surmised he could be suffering from SARS. A mask was strapped to his face and he was packed off to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Beliaghata.

Hidiyuki did not get any relief there either. “I was taken to the emergency ward where I couldn’t find anybody else,” he said, his Korean girlfriend Moon Jay Ouag playing interpreter.

“They (the Kothari staff) simply went away leaving me there. They did not even take the Rs 3,000 we had incurred,” he said.

After an endless wait, a doctor told Hidiyuki he did not have SARS. “I was told to leave by a doctor who said I didn’t have SARS,” he said. “But they did not even put a stethoscope on me.”

Hidiyuki then consulted another doctor who advised more blood tests. The results were again negative but Hidiyuki’s health was deteriorating.

On April 9, he called up his health insurance firm in Tokyo. It got in touch with the Calcutta-based medical director of Asia Rescue and Medical Services, Anraj Singh, who got Hidiyuki admitted to Belle Vue Clinic.

“Tests revealed he was suffering from typhoid,” Singh said. He was released after a thorough check-up, P. Tandon of Belle Vue said.

Kothari superintendent S. Sahay said Hidiyuki had been shifted to Beliaghata because “he came from a region very close to places that have thrown up so many SARS cases.…”

Infectious Diseases Hospital superintendent S. Biswas said the youth was given only “preliminary treatment”.

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