Skip to main content

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey*

Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.
Madhurima Kundu, a PhD student at Jawaharlal Nehru University was admitted for four days at Sultanpuri Government Isolation Centre for Covid patients in Delhi and has described the pathetic conditions related to availability and behavior of doctors, medical and para-medical staff, sanitation, food, medicines, linen and monitoring of oxygen in a petition filed in High Court. The ill patients had to go down to the reception to ask for every basic thing and stand in queues in scorching sun to get medicines.
True to the spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat, 90% of the patients who chose to treat themselves at their homes, even without a trained medical staff available at hand, survived mainly because of better patient care at home. Most who died was because of negligence of hospitals more than the disease.
Question is why were family members as attendants, with Personal Protective Equipment and proper precautions, not allowed in hospitals? How many government-run and private hospitals do we know in India where attendant-less care is possible?
Caring and supporting have an important role to play in the healing process. But our healthcare system is, barring rare exceptions, built in a way that we need a battery of attendants to support a hospitalized person. Given this grave reality, was it not a disaster to force-execute Covid isolation and quarantine based on an attendant-less approach?
During the last 17 months since the global public health emergency was declared, the government has miserably failed to prepare the health system for attendant-less care for Covid patients. Moreover, rights-based access to care still remains a mirage for majority of our population.
Number of people hid their Covid condition at home for the fear of being dragged to hospital by the administration as they had more faith in their family members and local doctors. Most who availed the services of hospitals were middle and upper middle class as only they could manage a bed there. Why were people from slums, which are densely populated and hence should have been more prone to spread of disease, not there in hospitals?
Surprisingly, the per capita cases were less in slums and lower income group localities. The government response has failed to acknowledge the mistrust its top-down decisions propel among communities, such as the idea of a highly centralized command control centres. Profiling of Covid positive people or criminalizing them or harassing whistleblowers who raised important concerns on Covid response (such as shortage of oxygen) are measures that will dissuade people to come forward.
Another reason for deaths in hospitals was that bureaucrats were taking decisions, including the nature of treatment, instead of people from the medical field. For example, in UP the command control centres were taking decision about the hospital to which patient should be admitted depending on availability of beds. A simple system where relatives of patients could find out even before leaving their home which was the nearest hospital with an available bed was not put in place in spite of all the hullabaloo about digital India.
Number of patients died on way from one hospital to another. Member of Parliament Kaushal Kishore exposed how ventilators and BiPAP in Balrampur Hospital were lying unused for want of technically trained personnel who could operate them and over hundred beds with Oxygen in Respiratory Medicine wards, including ICU, of King George Medical University were not being utilized. The failure of health care system was criminal.
Even when doctors knew that Remdisivir was not a cure for Covid, at best it shortened the period of stay in hospital, and plasma therapy was not effective against the new variant of corona virus (except for very few studies that show its possible role in very initial days since the beginning of infection), patients were being made to run from pillar to post to arrange for these ‘prescribed’ treatments. Government was chest thumping on largest ‘plasma bank’ while there was no concrete evidence to back its claim. Finally, plasma therapy was dropped from treatment protocol by Covid Naitonal Task Force on 18 May, 2021.
Despite knowing fully well that there is no cure for novel corona virus and emerging science and data is very limited on its clinical management, government has failed to prioritise prevention. Breaking the chain of transmission of the infectious virus should have been centrestage to Covid response right from the very beginning of the epidemic. We failed to protect our frontline healthcare workers who not only contracted Covid but also an alarming number of them died in spite of having been vaccinated.
Government was chest thumping on largest plasma bank while there was no concrete evidence to back its claim. Finally, plasma therapy was dropped
How can we forget those nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers who had raised their voice against acute shortage of PPE or masks when the pandemic began? Why was health system not fully prepared to use all evidence-based measures to prevent transmission of the virus among frontline healthcare workers?
The pandemic has reminded us of the essentialness of the values and rights enshrined in our Constitution for every human being. Instead of ensuring social support security for every human being and people-centric agenda taking centrestage in governance for delivering on the promise of ‘Health For All’, the government is allowing select companies to mint profits, blackmarketing and hoarding to plague our ailing system, and worst of all, profiteering from illness and death to continue to take deeper roots.
The Union and the State government now seem to be competing to announce relief measures for children orphaned due to Covid. Did we need a Covid to remind us of the society’s responsibility towards orphans? And even now government is talking about only children orphaned dur to Covid, not all orphans! Considering there is underreporting of Covid related deaths how many orphans or their well wishers will be able to prove that the parent(s) died of Covid in order to avail the ‘benefits’ from our labyrinthine bureaucracy?
Will this government move away from event management approach and rather focus on serving its duty towards all our people? We should not have to use our class-caste connections to secure a bed in a hospital or a place in a creamatorium. When will the system become sensitive and responsive to every citizen of this country.
---
*With Socialist Party (India)

Comments

Anonymous said…
Sad article written my cynical and sick minds. Authors need treatment. They have no knowledge about health and disease. Most of the Covid patients treated at home are the mild cases. Hospitalised patients are since and most of the Covid mortality will be in hospitalised patients. Current mortality in India is 1.1%. The Tortola numbers are very high because disease load is very high.

What the authors must realise is that had state Governments imposed lockdowns (especially Maharashtra and Delhi) ten days earlier many lives would have been saved. The real question is why did the Governments not impose lockdown earlier? Don’t the chief ministers know hat their healthcare systems can cope with. Don’t they have the basic intelligence to see the daily number of cases and test positivity rates and calculate when their healthcare would be overwhelmed. If they are not capable of predicting this are they fit to govern?

Instead the authors question the inadequacies of the healthcare system and denigrate the healthcare workers. Poor quality and sic minds of the authors are obvious
theconflict2010 said…
You can love one ideology but it should not kill your humanity. A doctor or a teacher's death is not of a person but of a group of patients or students. Likewise of other professionals. But we are taught to argue it that how percentage wise we are at better position. Individual becomes a percent.
Secondly, above anonymous comments holder has no knowledge of rural areas. Not mild but villagers don't want to be admitted. Whoever goes does not return, this they feel.
More attention is required by the government.

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen