Pandemic a death sentence for some non-coronavirus patients in India
NEW DELHI: Liver patient Shahjahan's family feared the worst when a New Delhi public hospital told her to leave because her bed was needed in a coronavirus unit.
The 40-year-old mother had been on a ventilator with an acute infection for almost two weeks when she left Lok Nayak hospital on Tuesday night.
She died at her family home in Delhi the next morning. Other hospitals had turned her away because of the pandemic.
"The authorities just left her to die. Even when they referred us to another hospital, they refused to give us an ambulance," said Mr Mohammad Khalid, a relative of Madam Shahjahan.
The capacity of medical facilities around the world has been stretched by the surge of Covid-19 patients as outbreaks worsen in many countries.
It can cause people with other life-threatening diseases to miss out on vital care - especially in places like India, where healthcare systems are shakier.
Dozens of people with serious medical conditions are camped outside India's national medical institute in tents set up by the Delhi government.
Many of them had travelled from other cities for now-cancelled appointments and cannot go back due to transport restrictions under the nationwide lockdown that began on March 25.
Outpatient departments at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences closed, forcing cancer patients and others with deadly ailments to take shelter in a grimy pedestrian subway and under canvas.
Though aid groups have provided some food and medicines, it had been 12 hours since Mr Saryu Das had eaten when AFP met him.
His son, who had mouth cancer, lay on a thin mattress with his face covered by a scarf. Flies hovered around him. Four days later, he died.
India, a country of 1.3 billion, has a death toll that is now above 280. - AFP