Coronavirus outbreak: In UP, a wife’s desperate step in vain
In Yogi Adityanath’s realm that claims to never run out of oxygen cylinders, the only dispensers of the gas Renu Singhal could find for her critically ill Covid-positive husband on Saturday were her own lungs.
The 45-year-old Agra resident tried to help husband Ravi, 47, with mouth-to-mouth breathing — not a recommended procedure for a highly infectious Covid patient. But after three hospitals had turned the couple away citing oxygen shortage, she was desperate.
Ravi, though, died in her arms inside the auto-rickshaw where she was trying to resuscitate him, a few steps from the emergency ward of a fourth hospital that apparently had oxygen.
Ravi was too weak to get off the auto and walk into the emergency room; and no stretcher, trolley or hospital employee was immediately available to carry him inside, Renu told reporters on Monday.
“He was coronavirus-positive and had high fever. He was in home isolation,” she told the reporters, who had arrived at her Vikas Colony home after seeing pictures that onlookers had clicked of her trying rescue breathing on her dying husband.
“On Saturday morning, he complained of breathing problems. I decided to take him to a hospital,” Renu said.
When the government’s ambulance helpline (108) failed to respond and Ravi’s condition started worsening, she got him into an auto-rickshaw and began her futile tour of the city’s hospitals.
“None of the three hospitals we visited had any oxygen left. They said they would admit my husband if we came back with an oxygen cylinder,” she said.
By the time she reached the fourth, the S.N. Medical College Hospital, no employee was in sight to wheel Ravi in, she said.
So she sat in the auto, parked on the hospital premises, trying mouth-to-mouth breathing to save her husband.
Eventually, when some hospital staff arrived and took him inside, the doctors declared him dead on arrival, Renu said.
Renu is staying in quarantine; it couldn’t be ascertained if she had taken a Covid test. The auto driver couldn’t be contacted and efforts to get in touch with the S.N. Hospital authorities were unsuccessful.
Dr R.C. Pandey, chief medical officer for Agra district, said he had not heard about the incident.
He said Agra city had 34 dedicated private Covid hospitals and the government was trying its best to provide everything they needed.
On Saturday, 10 hospitals in Agra were forced to discharge all their Covid patients -- about 1,000 in all – because of the lack of oxygen, Dr O.P. Yadav, district president of the Indian Medical Association, has said.
Dr Surendra Singh of Yashwant Hospital, Agra, had told reporters on Saturday: “We were promised 50 oxygen cylinders a week but the government gave us only 5 cylinders over the last 10 days. We discharged our (Covid) patients when we had no option left.”