To save his life, the family members of Anil Kumar Upadhyay chose to travel to Delhi on August 9 instead of Bhopal or Lucknow. They put the critical patient on oxygen support in an ambulance and after nearly seven hours landed at Lok Nayak Hospital.
“We do not have the required health infrastructure in Gwalior. All our friends and family members agreed that Delhi would be the best place for treatment. We had heard about the good treatment facilities at Lok Nayak, so rushed him there,” Amit Upadhyay, the patient’s son, told TOI over the phone from Gwalior.
Amit took his father to the private hospital in Gwalior in the first week of August when he started suffering from high fever and breathing difficulty. “We got terrified when his condition worsened. In Delhi, he was in the ICU for over 15 days. He was also given plasma therapy,” he said.
Upadhyay is among many critical Covid patients from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Bihar and other states who have been rushing to Delhi for treatment because of the good healthcare infrastructure. Another reason is lack of confidence among people in their own state’s healthcare facilities.
Avinash Rani, a 65-year-old woman from Ludhiana with heart ailments, came to Delhi after testing positive for Covid-19 as she didn’t want to get admitted in a government hospital in Punjab. “Our friends suggested that we take her to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Covid hospital,” Shishwala, Rani’s relative, told TOI over the phone from Punjab. After the woman’s condition deteriorated a day later, she was referred to Lok Nayak Hospital where she ultimately recovered.
Patients dying in some states due to lack of plasma therapy was another reason for people making a beeline at Delhi’s hospitals. Delhi government has opened two plasma banks, the one at Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences being the first in the country.
Abhishek Khandelwal, a 47-year-old businessman, rushed to Delhi from Shahjahanpur after testing positive for Covid-19. He later discovered that he had D-dimer, a blood condition found in some Covid patients. “After doctors detected clotting in my blood, they advised me to go to Delhi,” he said. He recovered after 12 days.
The rush of patients has led to an increase in bed occupancy in Delhi’s hospitals. Out of 500 patients admitted at Lok Nayak Hospital, nearly 90 are from other states. Around 50% of those dying daily are from outside Delhi. Doctors said the mortality was high among such patients because most of them were brought to Delhi in a serious condition.