Covid patients are dying before finding hospital beds in Bengaluru | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: A 26-year-old woman was frantically dialling Covid helpline numbers from a speeding ambulance that criss-crossed Bengaluru on Thursday night carrying her severely ill 64-year-old businessman-father and 57-year-old mother, both Covid patients.
The elderly man was gasping for air as his oxygen saturation level had dipped to 75, while the mother’s condition was no better.
After having struggled for two days to get her parents hospital beds, the RT Nagar resident had managed to get them stretchered into the ambulance at 6pm and set out in search of beds.
“The city’s emergency system was of no help as we dialled 1912, the Covid helpline, only to be put on hold. We gave up and frantically began hunting for beds on our own,” said Neerja Shah, a relative of the woman. The ambulance visited at least half a dozen hospitals only to be sent back citing reasons like lack of ventilators and oxygen beds. “Sir, please get my dad a bed,” the woman told this reporter as her phone line remained continuously engaged. Around 2.30am, the man breathed his last in the ambulance. However, the businessman’s wife found a bed without oxygen in Chaithanya hospital.
The woman was among scores of families ferrying their ill relatives in ambulances and autorickshaws across the length and breadth of the city in search of hospital beds. According to a WhatsApp group for mobilising beds for patients, at least six people died of the virus before reaching hospitals on Thursday night alone.
A 47-year-old woman from RS Palya was also in an ambulance the same night. Her daughter and a relative were sending messages on WhatsApp groups seeking a bed for her. The woman had tested positive for Covid-19 last week and the bed search began on Tuesday as her breathlessness worsened.
On Thursday evening, her oxygen saturation level fell below 45 and the family immediately hired an ambulance. They searched for hours, but in vain. The woman breathed her last around 4am in the vehicle, family members said, adding that they paid Rs 15,000 as ambulance charges.
“During our duty, especially in the last few days into the lockdown, we have been encountering families in tears inside autorickshaws, cars and ambulances, frantically moving around in search of beds. The ill are either gasping for breath or on oxygen apparatus, if lucky,” said a police officer from Halasuru police limits who’s on lockdown duty.
On Friday evening, the RT Nagar woman was waiting in front of Panathur crematorium to conduct her father’s last rites. She had another major problem to worry about — her mother’s condition was worsening and she needed an ICU bed.
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Sagar Biswas

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