Elderly who approached HC for Covid bed dies hours before hearing

While the Delhi government is claiming that it has used the lockdown period to gear up the health infrastructure in order to deal the with the Coronavirus crisis, an elderly resident of the national capital who recently approached the Delhi High Court seeking directions to authorities regarding his accommodation in hospital for COVID-19 treatment died even before the matter could be heard.

The 80-year-old who lived in North East Delhi’s Nandnagri lost the fight against the fast spreading virus after he could not get accommodated to any hospital.

He had knocked the doors of various major hospitals including AII India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rajiv Gandhi Hospital, Max Patparganj etc., but his efforts were in vain as all hospitals refuted admission claiming “no availability”.

The plea filed through advocate RPS Bhatti on June 2 was listed for hearing on Friday, but, he died on Thursday night, hours before it could be heard. His advocate confirmed the news of his demise.

The petitioner in his plea urged the high court to direct the respondents to immediately arrange to accommodate petitioner in a government hospital with ventilator facility and to provide free medical treatment to him under the scheme of BPL (below poverty line).

According to the petition, the man fell ill on May 25 and was taken to a hospital in East Delh. “The staff of the said hospital negligently laid the father of petitioner adjacent to a Coronavirus-positive patient. Thus, the petitioner got infected and his condition soon deteriorated, leading to requirement of ventilator,” the plea said.

“The petitioner was put on ventilator and still on ventilator and now the said hospital is putting pressure on petitioner’s son/parokar, asking the parokar to shift his father /petitioner to some other hospital , stating that the said hospital is not well equipped to treat Coronavirus patients,” the plea added.

Though the Delhi government repeatedly claims that it is well equipped to deal with the pandemic and it made full use of the lockdown to prep up and strengthen its health infrastructure, such incidents raise doubts on the claim.

In a recent interview to IANS, ruling AAP government lawmaker Raghav Chadha had said, “Our government used this period to ramp up the health infrastructure by ensuring availability of all supplies, including PPE kits, ventilators etc. We are now fully prepared to tackle even the worst of possibilities.”

The statement had come in on May 18 soon after the Delhi Chief Minister had announced new guidelines for the fourth phase of lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is going to be a long haul and the end may not be in sight yet. But, the future does not look as bleak. In last 57 days of lockdown, we have built health infrastructure and capacities to deal with the situation, even if things go from bad to worse,” Chadha had said then.

The lockdown 4.0, however, ended on May 31 and now, even as there are reportedly some plans to open public spaces like malls and religious places, the cases of the deadly COVID-19 are rising rapidly.

According to Health Ministry data, as of Thursday night, the national capital had close to 24,000 total confirmed cases including 606 fatalities.