Till Death Do Us Apart

As a medical emergency in the form of coronavirus ensues, a system of lacking medical facilities for other fatalities stands exposed. A doctor loses his life to overstressed shifts, because God is also human at the end of the day. What will become of his adolescent children and shocked family?

The nation is locked down into safety and comfort since March. Coronavirus cases have risen rapidly, and so has the pressure on healthcare workers across India. The tasks are even more backbreaking when there is scarcity of medical resources.

Mahesh Narayan Mishra, aged 42, was posted in District Women Hospital of Prayagraj. A Post – Data Analyst in the JSY department, he held the responsibility of RCH portal, certification and additional responsibilities of store incharge in lack of administration and staff in a state crippled by daily increasing cases of COVID-19. So, even when he complained of persistent chest pain for two days, his requests went unheard.

On Wednesday last week, around 11.30 a.m he started having severe pain in the chest. After telling his juniors to keep feeding the entries, he left for Motilal Nehru Hospital, a nearby government hospital facility because it was hardly 700 mtrs away from the District Women Hospital. He informed of his deteriorating condition on the way to his wife, Dr. Suman Lata Tripathi who is a doctor posted in the CMO office of the government facility

In a shock to them, there were no doctors available to examine Dr. Mishra. Through her contacts, Dr Lata managed to call Dr.Paswan to diagnose him and perform a hypertension Blood Pressure check. Since the BP was too high, he asked for an ECG test.

Such an imperial yet basic machine in any cardiology department was shockingly dysfunctional in this government facility in a high-profile city of the biggest state of the nation.

Motilal Nehru Hospital in Nakhas Kohna is located in ‘the heart of the city’, which implies that the area was central and bustling. Sheer medical negligence, and untimely treatment led to a responsible healthcare worker to lose his life.

Mishra is survived by his son, 14-year old Somesh and an elder daughter, Sakshi who is in her 12th standard.

Travel down to Western India in the heart of Maharashtra, Mumbai.  Two hospitals refused to attend to a cardiac patient, citing lack of beds and doctors. The third hospital declared the patient dead.

In the initial period of coronavirus, a young boy lost his life because hospitals did not admit him the first day. When they eventually took him in after letters were addressed to authorities, the boy lost his life.

A tragic pandemic cannot normalise deaths. Negligence by inefficient medical specialists, or lack of basic medical infrastructure is a tight slap on the faces of the state and national administration. A pandemic does not allow medical attention to be diverted from chronic ailments, or become an excuse for failure in promp action. Is it an act of God, when people die due to circumstances that could have been tackled by efficiency, empathy and availability of basic infrastructure? Who is responsible, if not the government and state functionaries, in a lapse that cost families their livelihoods and decent lifestyles? These people were fathers and sons, husbands and brothers, and had as much right to medical attention as any coronavirus patient. Will the government be able to assure the grieving family members that these deaths were unfortunate, and will be compensated for? But what use, because insurance schemes, financial packages and condolence paycheques cannot restore lives.

By: Gauri Joshi

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