Rajat Sharma

Horrific visuals of patients lying among dead bodies in Delhi hospital, who should be held accountable?

AKB2610In my prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Wednesday night, we showed visuals of COVID-19 patients lying on beds with dead bodies kept either below the bed or on nearby beds in Delhi’s LNJP hospital, supposed to be Delhi’s biggest COVID dedicated hospital.
We also showed visuals of four bodies kept on stretchers in the visiting area of the hospital earmarked for relatives of COVID patients. There were also visuals of COVID patients gasping for breath, one of them half lying on bed and the remaining part of his body dangling from the bed. Another patient, also struggling for breath, had fallen on the floor. Not a single doctor, nurse or attendant was present.
I had been getting videos about COVID patients struggling for life in Delhi hospitals daily. I decided to send our reporter Pawan Nara to check out the authenticity of these videos. What he reported was horrifying.
The visuals that I mentioned above were not from one single ward, but was the general pattern in at least ten wards of LNJP hospital, which boasts of having more than 2,000 beds. These visuals can give you a clear picture as to why people avoid going to government hospitals, and prefer privately run hospitals. Why beds are lying vacant in government run hospitals, and most of the beds in private hospitals are full.
Looking at the grisly videos (in one of them, a patient was lying on bed without any clothes), it appears as if these patients had been brought to the hospital to die. These were COVID patients brought by their relatives for treatment, and they have been left lying among the dead, to die a painful death.
India TV camera also panned around passages, where patients were lying on the floor, vomiting, but there was no health worker to take care of them. The 15-minute-long visuals did not reveal a single nurse or a doctor or a ward boy moving around.
Just imagine the conditions of the hospital’s mortuary. Before telecasting these visuals, we had to edit out portions not meant for public viewing. While watching these, one can easily understand why most of the 2,500 beds in Delhi’s government hospitals are lying vacant. These videos are damning evidences of gross negligence on part of the hospital authorities.
While watching these visuals carefully, one can easily notice most of the COVID patients, struggling for life, had no saline drips, nor was there any sort of monitoring on part of the doctors. One patient, almost unconscious, was lying below a bed, on which a lady patient was lying. An elderly patient was lying on a nearby bed, without any body movement, probably taking his last breath. It appears as if the hospital was leaving patients to die, in the name of treatment.

On Wednesday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had asked people to point out if there are deficiencies in health care. He had promised that his government would work on people’s suggestions. It is now time that those who wield power in his government must sit up and take notice of these videos. Delhi government must find out why bodies were left lying on stretchers in the waiting area of LNJP hospital, meant for relatives.

Till last week, when I used to watch videos of patients lying with dead bodies around in Mumbai’s KEM, Sion or Cooper hospitals, I was under the impression that health care in Delhi hospitals was better. But these visuals are enough to strike fear in the minds of people.

COVID wards in LNJP hospital are meant for treating critically ill patients, but the videos clearly show that practically no treatment is being provided to them. Once critical patients are admitted to this hospital, their relatives are not allowed to meet the patients. The patients are left to die, as their oxygen levels drop, and once the patient dies, the ward boy comes and picks up the body on a stretcher, to take it to the mortuary. Since mortuaries are packed, bodies are left lying on stretchers in the open.
Delhi government’s statistics show 771 out of a total of 2,000 beds in LNJP hospital are occupied and more than 1,200 beds are vacant. Clearly, the word has gone outside that patients are not being provided proper care, and hence, people avoid bringing critically ill patients to this hospital. If this is the situation in Delhi’s biggest COVID dedicated hospital, then it is better that COVID patients stay at home, where they can at least get proper care from their family members.
India TV reporter Deeksha Pandey spoke to relatives waiting outside LNJP hospital. They had come to find out the condition of their patients. A young lady said, her father told him on phone that he was lying among dead bodies in his ward and there was nobody to take care. Her father was imploring her to take him out of this hell. Seven days later, she was informed that her father was dead.
Can anybody in his or her sense want to go to this hospital after watching these shocking visuals? Think about the trauma that relatives must be facing about their patients after watching these visuals. I remember the words of one hospital official, who after watching the videos, said, “I am speechless”.

If this is the condition of the biggest COVID dedicated hospital in the nation’s capital, think about the conditions in other hospitals. I have forwarded all these videos to Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain. He told our reporter that he would take action and thanked us for sending the videos.

The government must take action, but my question is a bit different. If this was the sordid condition in Delhi government’s largest hospital, if there was total mismanagement and negligence, how come the Health Minister of Delhi failed to get any clues? Was he being misled by his officials? Who must be held accountable?

Delhi government must surely take action, but it must immediately take urgent steps to improve the health care conditions in this hospital. At least save those 751 COVID patients who are still struggling for life in this hospital. At least give some sort of assurance and courage to their family members. If the government fails, people will stop sending their patients to government run hospitals, because they are fast losing trust in the health care system.

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