Turned away by 18 hospitals in Bengaluru, 52-year-old man with breathlessness dies

According to the man’s family, several reputed hospitals in Bengaluru refused to admit him citing lack of beds.
Photograph of a COVID-19 victim being cremated
Photograph of a COVID-19 victim being cremated
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A 52-year-old man in Bengaluru died on Sunday night, shortly after he was admitted to a hospital and put on a ventilator. The patient, a resident of Nagarathpet in the city, was experiencing shortness of breath for over a period of 24 hours prior to his death.  

According to his family members, the 52-year-old was turned away by several hospitals before he was finally admitted to Bowring Hospital on Sunday night. While the family managed to arrange an oxygen cylinder on Saturday night, his samples for the COVID-19 test was collected by a private laboratory in Rajajinagar on Sunday morning. 

Speaking to TNM, the victim’s nephew said that the family was refused treatment in 18 hospitals in Bengaluru over a 24-hour period. He also alleged that they had contacted around 32 other hospitals, which did not agree to accommodate the patient. 

"For two nights, we were roaming in Bengaluru, going from one hospital to another. We begged and pleaded with many reputed hospitals to give us a bed but they turned us away, citing lack of beds. The authorities at Bowring Hospital asked us to wait until his coronavirus test results had returned before admitting him," said the nephew.

The hospital finally admitted the 52-year-old on Sunday. However, the patient, who manages a garment shop in Austin Town, eventually died the same night. 

'18 hospitals refused treatment'

“My uncle developed breathing issues on Saturday evening and we took him to a private hospital after calling an ambulance. We were turned down because we had told the hospital that the patient is experiencing breathlessness. We went to three more hospitals and it was the same story. By Saturday night, we had visited 18 hospitals," said the nephew. 

"We decided to wait till the test results were back the next day (on Monday) but by Sunday evening, his condition started to deteriorate. We called an ambulance and began searching for a hospital again," says the nephew.

According to the nephew, hospitals mentioned in the list of designated private hospitals for COVID-19 treatment also declined to admit the patient. 

"We managed to convince the hospital authorities in Bowring Hospital on Sunday night to admit him since his condition had turned critical. He was taking a breath once in 20 seconds at the time. But within minutes of putting him on a ventilator, he passed away," he told TNM.

'No one should go through a night like this'

The 52-year-old man’s death has once again turned the spotlight on the lack of beds available in hospitals in Bengaluru.

"We are reporting this death in the media to make sure no one goes through a night like this. I know what it is like to have someone from the family in an ambulance and begging hospitals to treat them. You lose him in front of you and you cannot do anything. There is no humanity in this,"  the nephew said.

The family is now waiting for the results of the COVID-19 test. 

The family's ordeal comes at a time when Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is trying to convince private hospitals to allocate more beds for COVID-19 patients. 

Private hospitals and nursing homes in the city were directed to set apart an additional 2,500 beds for treatment of COVID-19 patients on Monday. However, the management of various hospitals, who held a discussion with the Chief Minister, said they were ready to set aside only 2,000 beds. 16 government hospitals and a number of private hospitals have been listed as designated COVID-19 hospitals in Bengaluru. 

Incidentally, Bengaluru has been reported a spike in COVID-19 cases over the last three days with 738 (Monday), 783 (Sunday) and 596 (Saturday) cases. The victim’s nephew alleged that there were a limited number of beds available for patients with breathing ailments. "Private hospitals should allocate more beds for patients who need to be isolated. There should also be an application or a platform to access information on the number of beds available in hospitals," said the nephew. 

The Karnataka government is currently developing an application which will help patients to find a hospital bed. However, the app will verify with the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) database and allocate beds for only those who test positive for coronavirus. 

Editor's note: We removed the list of hospitals as the person mentioned in the story was disturbed with reactionary calls.

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