‘Treat us like humans’: inside Delhi’s Covid-ravaged healthcare system
Hotels dispense drugs instead of room service as hospitals turn away people amid bed and staff shortage
It had taken a long time for Pramila Minz, 28, to persuade her mother to relocate from her remote village deep in Odisha’s tribal belt to New Delhi. After Gurubari Minz, 55, began showing Covid-19 symptoms and had a suspected stroke, her daughter was comforted by the belief she would receive the best possible healthcare now that she lived in the Indian capital.
She took her mother to Safdarjung Hospital on June 10, but after conducting a CT scan and X-ray, a doctor refused to admit her because of a shortage of staff and beds. Minz was rejected by five other major hospitals in New Delhi during a frantic 24-hour search. Her condition was worsening and she was having breathing difficulties and drifting in and out of consciousness. Despite these grave symptoms, her daughter still could not get her mother admitted, despite explaining to doctors that she had suffered a stroke 18 months previously and was extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.
Social media is full of similar stories, helping to build a picture of a healthcare system in crisis as India battles the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world. The extreme challenges faced by hospitals have been worsened by the number of doctors and nurses contracting coronavirus themselves...