I lost my beloved father-in-law to COVID-19 on May 22. He was 64.
Let me share some facts which are imperative for the government and the general public to know, so that no other precious life is lost.
Here are the chain of events:
- 11th-12th May: He got a fever of 98-99 (mostly normal).
- 13th-14th May: Fever increased to 100+ with mild sore throat.
- 15th-16th May: Fever increased to 101+ with mild throat.
- 17th-18th May: This is when we decided to get the tests done. However someone told me that if fever >100 persists for five days or more, only then must the test be conducted.
We were hesitant, but since dad insisted, we waited till 18 May. Meanwhile, the fever remained the same. Since he was in Delhi and we were in Chandigarh, we tried umpteen number of labs (including lal/SRL etc.) for home collection, since we didn't want to expose him to others in case he was coronavirus positive.
No lab was ready to come home. Then came the much glamorized Arogya Setu app from where we got a lab "City Xray and Scan, Tilak Nagar" to come and test at home.
- 18th-19th May: He was tested and was found to be 'negative. However, the fever didn't decrease.
- 20th May: Fever persisted and we consulted a doctor who told us to get other tests done to check the cause of fever. At night, he started developing breathing issues but did not tell us.
- 21st May: Fever persisted and breathlessness remained, and we consequently shifted him to a hospital. The hospital was hesitant to get him admitted since he had COVID-19 symptoms, but with us having a negative report, they took him and started examinations and tests, including COVID test agaig. His sugar levels were abysmally high and were out of control.
- 22nd May: He was put on a ventilator. COVID report this time was 'positive'.
- 22nd May: Since he was COVID positive, the hospital wanted to shift him to a COVID hospital, for which they asked us to find one. Our ordeal had just begun. We needed an ambulance with a ventilator, which wasn't available. We tried almost all hospitals, including government hospital LNJP, and each time, we were told that there were no ventilators available.
- 22nd May (9.45 pm): We went to the ICU to check on him and learnt that we have lost him.
- 23rd May: We couldn't even see him for the last time. My mother-in-law is under quarantine alone, and so are we.
- 24th May: The central government talked about how well they have managed the coronavirus crisis. Delhi is apparently well prepared as it has 250 ventilators and no hospital can deny COVID-19 patients.
That night, however, not a single ventilator was available.
No one knows the COVID infrastructure and there is no central portal from which anyone (hospital or patient) can check if beds or ventilators are available. No one knows when to go to a hospital or get the tests done, COVID hospitals are not accepting COVID patients till they are COVID positive. No one knows which labs are collecting samples at home.
To add to the misery, non-COVID hospitals are not taking patients with COVID symptoms.
I wrote this down so that this doesn't happen to anyone else, ever again. I don't intend to criticize the government here, but I hope they read this and correct the mess.