Pune: Dr P. Lakshminarasimhan, a 61-year-old senior scientist - retired from the Botanical Survey of India - died on Wednesday (July 15) early morning due to non-availability of the ventilator after he was diagnosed positive for COVID-19. Tall claims made by the civic administration about a sufficient number of beds and ventilators being available in the city have fallen flat.
Dr Lakshminarasimhan is survived by his wife and daughter. According to his relatives, Dr Lakshminarasimhan started feeling breathless on Tuesday evening at around 6 pm. He was immediately rushed to a private hospital on Nagar road. While his health was deteriorating, the private hospital claimed that beds with ventilators were not vacant for providing treatment. The doctors at the hospital asked Dr Lakshminarasimhan's family to move him to another hospital for treatment.
Panicked by the unavailability of ventilator beds, Dr Lakshminarasimhan's family and relatives frantically called hospitals in search of a vacant ventilator bed. When they could not find one, the relatives called Ramesh Iyer, the general secretary of the city Congress unit. Iyer through his contacts asked the Divisional Commissioner office to provide information about vacant beds in the hospitals in the city. The Divisional Commissioner office provided the dashboard information in which several hospitals were showing vacancy of ventilator beds. But when Iyer dialled four hospitals, none of them responded in the affirmative. Finally, Dr Lakshminarasimhan was shifted to Sassoon General Hospital at around 9 pm on Tuesday.
Sassoon hospital staff got Dr Lakshminarasimhan admitted but there was no bed ventilator available. Iyer also asked local Congress Corporator Arvind Shinde to intervene and arrange for a bed ventilator immediately, but hospital staff told Shinde that already three patients were waiting for a bed ventilator to be vacated. Finally, Dr Lakshminarasimhan was put on oxygen support but he succumbed to the illness at around 2 am Wednesday. COVID test report confirmed that Dr Lakshminarasimhan had tested positive for the disease.
Iyer said, "The number of COVID-19 cases are on a rise in the city, but the healthcare facilities are inadequate to handle such a large number. The dashboard of Divisional Commissioner shows ventilator bed vacancy at several hospitals, but in reality, no beds are available. If this is the case what's the use of having a dashboard and appealing citizens to call on helpline numbers."