By Saurabh Sharma
LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – As Sushil Kumar Srivastava’s dyspnea worsened, his family put the 70-year-old man in a car and took him to a hospital in the state capital of Uttar. Pradesh, northern India, where he tested positive for coronavirus.
After the private hospital turned down a retired government official because it had no empty beds, his son, Ashish, brought two oxygen cylinders and drove his father to hunt for a hospital that could accept him. .
“All hospitals require referrals from the chief medical officer (CMO) office,” Ashish said, referring to the city’s top health care official with about 3.5 million people.
At the office, Ashish said no one was helping him. “I was kicked away by the police,” he said, trying to meet the CMO.
Three days later, Ashish said someone from the government called him over to suggest a bed for his father – the day after Srivastava passed away at a private clinic.
The family challenge reflects the worsening COVID-19 crisis in Uttar Pradesh, where people are fighting the bureaucracy along with the disease.
To get a COVID-19 bed in Lucknow, families said they needed to show the RT-PCR test results, which were already lacking.
Next, the patient is asked to register with the CMO’s office, which will then forward the request to the Integrated Command Control Center to manage the COVID for the final bed allocation, a government official said. know.
This cumbersome process has met with criticism, including from the state Human Rights Commission, which has asked the government to ditch the referral regulation.
“There are specialists in hospitals who can decide if a patient needs hospitalization,” the committee said on Tuesday. “This referral system is not required.”
Having become the country currently most severely affected by the pandemic, India has recorded more than 200,000 new cases of COVID-19 daily over the past seven days, marking the world’s strongest increase this month and yet. there are indications that the second wave of infection will soon peak.
In Uttar Pradesh, home to 200 million people, infections are growing to more than 22,000 a day, putting serious strain on its poor health care system.
The state government says it is turning some hospitals into facilities that use only COVID and add beds. It did not respond to questions from Reuters.
At Lucknow’s CMO office, near two major hospitals, dozens of people line up daily, asking for, begging and sometimes crying for referrals upon admission.
This week, local television news channels broadcast a scene of a young man lying on the street to block CMO’s car in desperation to get a letter for a sick relative.
Patients need to present an RT-PCR test that confirms infection before a referral can be issued.
But these tests are increasingly inaccessible for most patients, with long queues outside hospitals and clinics overwhelmed by the proliferation of infections.
Journalist Shreya Jai said: “The implementation of RT-PCR in UP is impossible,” said journalist Shreya Jai, family members had to wait a week for the rapid antigen test.
Many labs in Lucknow are working with less than half of their staff, the rest are infected with the virus, one lab employee said, requesting anonymity.
The state government says nearly 230 private and public laboratories are being used to test coronavirus.
On Monday, the state government led by Yogi Adityanath, who is currently in trouble with COVID-19, was dealt with by a regional court.
“It is a pity that while the government knows about the magnitude of the second wave, it never plans it,” said the state Supreme Court of Allahabad.
In one Srivastava household, in a middle-class neighborhood in central Lucknow, there was anger and sadness after cremating the head of the family.
Ashish, 39, who is currently COVID-19 positive, said: “I blame the officers in the air-conditioning for the death of my father.
(Additional report and written by Devjyot Ghoshal; Edited by Sanjeev Miglani)