Karnataka: Family of first Covid victim has more questions than answers | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Kalaburagi hit national headlines on March 12 last year after health minister B Sriramulu announced the country’s first Covid-19 death — Qazi Muhammad Hussain Siddiqui, a resident of the North Karnataka town.
However, a year on, Hussain’s eldest son, Hamid Faisal Siddiqui insists his father did not die of Covid.
The family says it has neither received a Covid-19 positive report nor confirmation from authorities.

Qazi Muhammad Hussain Siddiqui

Faisal says his father had just returned from meeting his other son in Jeddah on February 29.
Ten days after returning from Jeddah, Hussain passed away after battling high fever and running from one hospital to another for treatment.
Faisal’s wife, Dr Aqeela Siddiqua, an Unani doctor, says the day her father-in-law died (at midnight on March 10), they were told he did not have Covid.
“We learnt from the news two days after his demise that he had the infection. Where did they get a sample again to test? Why did it take an additional two days to confirm?” Dr Aqeela asks.
She says none in the family have had Covid although they lived in the same house with Hussain.
“I would serve his meals and my husband was with him till the last minute, but none of us have had Covid,” she said.
Faisal adds: “My sister got Covid, but she did not even meet our father.”
Hussain was the caretaker of one of the biggest local mosques in Kalaburagi and was a revered and dignified personality in the town.
The family too commanded respect.
But in the days leading to his death and months after, they were exposed to untold misery.
Hussain spiked a fever on March 7, but he felt it was because of travel.
When it did not subside, the family took him to a nearby hospital the next day.
His samples were taken, and the family was asked to shift him to a hospital in Hyderabad.
“We were told his oxygen levels were good, but it might fall so he needed to be shifted to a bigger hospital,” Dr Aqeela said.
That night the family took Hussain to Hyderabad in an ambulance, but no hospital there was ready to admit him.
Finally, one hospital agreed, but the family says he was not given immediate attention but shifted to isolation instead.
“My father had neither eaten anything nor was he given any medicine,” Faisal said.
“He was broken by the way he was treated in different places. The last thing he told me was that he was thirsty and asked for water.”
“Had he been treated here, my father-in-law would have been with us today,” Dr Aqeela said.
“The stress, lack of treatment and the fact that he was unable to take his usual BP medicines perhaps led to his death,” she said.
But his death brought more than just grief to the family.
“People began avoiding us and some would address us as ‘corona’,” Faisal said.
However, now that Covid is widespread, things have returned to normal for the family.
“That horrible time will forever remain with us though,” he said.
Dr Aqeela said being cautious when an infectious disease is in the air is understandable but treating others with disrespect is not.
“It is not just Covid; there are other infectious diseases as well. No matter what, the patient or their families must not be treated as outlaws,” she said.

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Sagar Biswas

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