Bharati Vidyapeeth Hospital says it had no beds for virus patients; FILE PHOTO

Hospital makes +ve patient wait 3 hours


Bharati Vidyapeeth Hospital refused to admit patient even after cops’ requests; district collector issues protocol for hospitals with no beds

The three hours that this Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) health worker had to spend in Bharati Vidyapeeth Hospital’s lobby — awaiting admission since he had tested positive for the virus — ticked by in excruciating anxiety. The hospital, despite cops’ communication, refused to take his request; he particularly wanted to be at the hospital where his brother has been admitted, too, after testing positive.

The employee in question has been working in Dhankawadi since March 21, seeking information on people. When he tested positive, he felt it was only appropriate for him to be alongside his brother, and thus, he approached the hospital. “I have been relentlessly working during the pandemic. Even before that, I have worked during the dengue epidemic. When it was my turn to be treated, they refused to help me,” he rued.

He approached the hospital on May 22, after he got himself tested at a private lab after a bout of throat infection and weakness. He immediately moved his family (wife, parents and two daughters) from their Parvati Darshan home — a containment zone — to a COVID-10 care centre and he then proceeded to Bharati Vidyapeeth Hospital. When he showed his reports, the doctors claimed that all the beds were full. He requested them for admission since his brother was there too. Then on began his three-hour wait from midnight to 3 am.

“I spotted two vacant beds and still, I don’t know why I was refused admission,” he said, adding, “It was already late in the night and was impossible for me to travel. Other hospitals were not ready to provide ambulances. Me and my brother are both PMC employees and yet, difficulties have become the order of the day.”

When sub-inspector Mahendra Patil at tached with the detection branch of Bharati Vidyapeeth police station was informed of the ordeal, he dispatched two night duty officers to help the patient. However, their profuse requests to the staffers at the hospital went in vain. “We have experienced the callous attitude of hospitals in case of emergency. Even if a cop seeks an appointment, the staffers brush him/her off. In this case, when our officers requested the hospital to provide the patient a bed, we were met with no response. The PMC employee was still grateful to us despite the requests yielding no results,” Patil said.

The incident has piqued the district administration with collector Naval Kishore Ram starting an inquiry into the matter. On Saturday, he had a meeting with representatives with all hospitals wherein he strictly warned them against shunning COVID-19 patients. “This should not happen with anyone; even if he/she is a PMC employee, he/she should be given help. It happens that many times a patient may require an intensive care unit or a ventilator, which may not be vacant with the hospital. In such cases, they should send the patient to another hospital. It is the responsibility of the hospital to communicate properly and arrange ambulances so that the patient can be shifted,” Ram said.

Imparting further instructions, hospitals that run out of beds have been told to help a patient through counselling and liaising with other facilities for care. “We will conduct a detailed inquiry into the matter and initiate action against the hospital,” he said.

The medical facility, in its defence, has said that it had no beds left for COVID-19 patients. Jitendra Oswal, medical director of Bharati Vidyapeeth Hospital, said that the PMC employee’s health appeared fine. “I spoke to him and told him that there was no vacancy for virus patients. We always give priority to police, doctors and health workers,” he said, adding, “We have two doctors admitted from Naidu hospital. Updates are sent to PMC every day and there is nothing to hide. We are accessible to all.”