Pune: The 34-year-old man from Dhayari, who was denied admission and timely treatment by at least four big hospitals in the city, succumbed to the COVID-19 disease while undergoing treatment at a civic hospital in Vishrantwadi on Wednesday afternoon. The patient's family was searching for vacant oxygen or ventilator beds in any hospital on Tuesday for more than eight hours, but were denied service by the hospitals. Furious over this, the relatives had parked the ambulance on the road at Tilak chowk near Alka Talkies to protest against the hospitals and civic administration's callous approach.
District Collector Naval Kishor Ram, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Commissioner Vikram Kumar, Mayor Murlidhar Mohol and other leaders had claimed that there are adequate number of ICU, ventilator and oxygen beds available in all private and civic hospitals in the city and that citizens should not worry about it. However, their claims have fallen flat with the death of this patient from Dhayari, who lost the crucial golden hours of treatment which could have saved his life.
The concerned patient was showing symptoms of COVID-19 and had gone to his family doctor for advice. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and was advised to get hospitalized as early as possible. On Tuesday afternoon, his oxygen saturation level in the body dropped considerably. His family members arranged for an ambulance at around 2 pm to take him to a nearby hospital. Thereafter, the patient was denied admission by two hospitals on Sinhagad road and several others in the city. After six hours of frantic search for an oxygen bed to save the patient's life, when the family reached a hospital near Alka Talkies, the medical staff asked them to manage on their own. Frustrated and furious over this callous approach of hospital staff, relatives of the patient as a mark of protest decided to park the ambulance in front of Sambhaji police Chowky at the Tilak chowk near Alka Talkies.
Police personnel deployed on duty at the chowk too called some hospitals, but were told the same reason for shortage of hospital beds. Meanwhile, a PMC official contacted Congress party worker Rishikesh Balgude who in turn made several calls to various hospitals and managed to arrange a bed for the patient at the Kasturba Gandhi hospital run by the Pune Municipal Corporation. The patient was admitted to the hospital at around 9.30 pm on Tuesday.
When PMC Health Chief Dr Ramchandra Hankare inspected the dashboard information, it was showing 40 ventilator and oxygen beds as vacant. But when Hankare called up the hospitals he too was given the same answer that hospital beds were not vacant.