My father would have been alive today if I could have found a bed in the hospital on time. I tried every helpline number, the government website to get information about the ICU bed. But the information given there is not at all reliable, it misguides the patient,” said Akash Sharma, who lost his father after admitting him for a day at a private hospital in Jaipur.
In the past two days, Akash ran from pillar to post to find a bed for his father whose oxygen level was dipping. "I tried everything I could. The doctors at the government hospitals turned us away. The private hospitals also did not have an ICU bed. The next day we could find one bed, but again there was limited oxygen in the hospital. Due to the delay in the treatment, I lost my father. I want to appeal to the state government to come up with more helpline numbers or even more beds. And above all keep only verified information in the portal. All leads are only time-consuming for any family who are struggling to get their member admitted,” Akash told Outlook.
Last week, Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma had said that the state has 8,532 oxygen-supported and 2,326 ICU beds for coronavirus patients in the state. Apart from it, 42,886 beds have been kept in isolation wards for infected patients at over 400 hospitals in the state.
As Covid-19 cases continued to surge in Rajasthan, people struggled to get hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, injections and medicines with the health infrastructure in the state almost stretched to its limit.
"To get a Remdesivir injection is next level impossible task in Rajasthan. I had sent an email to the CMHO and the district collector via the hospital where my mother was hospitalised. We tried everything through a proper channel but despite the prescription and doctor's recommendation we failed to get an injection for five days", Aastha, a resident of Ajmer, told Outlook.
After getting dejection from the official authorities, and official helpline numbers, Aastha started searching for the leads on social media. "I got a lead for the Remdesivir in Jaipur. I had to send a relative to go to Jaipur, all the way 150km from Ajmer. Moreover, I had to pay Rs 5,000 for one vial of injection," Aastha added.
The Rajasthan government has recently written to the RMCL for the liquid Remdesivir injection for the patients in the state. "In a bid to avoid black marketing of the Remdesivir, the important drug right now, we have asked for the liquid ones, so that they will be put in cold chain storage of 2 to 8 degrees Centigrade. Also, we require around 12,000 Remdesivir injections per day, looking at the demand, but we are just receiving 10 per cent. Hence, there is a huge gap between the demand and the supply," Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma told Outlook.
The Rajasthan government has started a 24-hour control room, where a Rajasthan administrative services-rank officer has been assigned duty day and night. The toll-free numbers for the inquiry about beds, Remdesivir, and oxygen cylinder are 2205175/7 and 181.
"The phone numbers are always busy. I failed to get a response from these helpline numbers, as I needed an oxygen refill for my wife at home. Even the officer's number was not reachable. I personally visited the CMHO office at Alwar, they turned me back by saying that patient is at home, hence no oxygen can be provided. But despite me telling them that her oxygen saturation level is going down and we need help, they rejected my demand. What about the patients at home, are they not Covid patients?"
"We are overwhelmed with the demand. The gap between supply and demand is huge. We can only cater to government hospitals at the moment and private hospitals, that too not all," Iqbal Khan, one of the nodal officers for oxygen supply in the state said.
Last month, the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission (RSHRC) had also sought a report from the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan on the death of two Covid-19 patients allegedly due to the depleting supply of medical oxygen at New Medical College Hospital (NMCH), Kota. In its order on Wednesday, on basis of the cognizance taken on the local media reports, the RSHRC has sought a factual report from the state government and asked to submit it by May 5.
On Monday, Rajasthan reported 17,296 new Covid-19 cases and 154 deaths, taking the active cases to 1,94,371 as per the state health department bulletin. Capital Jaipur reported 3,585cases, followed by Jodhpur with 2,130 with Covid cases per day. Rajasthan has already imposed a lockdown till May 17, 2021, owing to the surge in Covid-19 cases.
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