“ICU is not good. Please, let’s go to a private hospital. No one is taking care here” this was the last message sent by the journalist to his brother Sainath at 3:46 PM on June 6, 2020, and in less than 24 hours before his death. Manoj Kumar, a 33-year-old Hyderabad- based journalist infected with Covid-19 and was struggling to breathe as he was sitting at the State-run Gandhi Hospital. Hours later the journalist died and police informed the family later.
In his last message, Manoj also said that he was not given any oxygen even when he complained of breathing problems. The death of Manoj and a video released by the family narrating the entire incident triggered the outrage of several people outside the Gandhi Hospital. Sainath said after going to the fever hospital, they both were taken to the isolation ward of Gandhi Hospital as both the brothers tested positive for coronavirus. Local reports said that Sainath was released on Monday.
Highlighting on the sequence of events on June 3 both the brothers at around 11 AM went to the Fever Hospital as Manoj showed some symptoms. At around 3 PM a test was conducted on both of them and then they went back home. Shortly after 10 PM that same day they got a call informing them that they were tested positive. They immediately went to the Fever Hospital and at around 11 PM they were referred to the state-run Gandhi Hospital. For one hour they filled the formalities and by 1 AM they were shifted to a ward on the seventh floor. They were given a bedsheet, a bar of soap, and some toothpaste besides some multivitamin tablets after being admitted. Since the time they stepped in the ward at the hospital, there were no proper facilities and no one took the responsibility to give information to patients. Manoj had some difficulty breathing, so his brother thought of informing someone but he couldn’t find anyone except the staff kept for sanitizing and they said him not to go out and that doctors would come the next morning.
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Sainath informed that by the early hours of June 4 his brother’s condition got worse. He tried informing the doctors but no one came to see his brother. Sainath got agitated and called his brother’s colleagues and they had put pressure on the Superintendent and made several calls and at around 11 AM the hospital said that they would shift Manoj to ICU. When the hospital didn’t shift his brother to the ICU after waiting for around 4 hours, his brother asked the hospital authority firmly and they said they do not have beds in ICU and when he asked for arranging an Oxygen cylinder in the ward it self they said they didn’t have that either. At around 4 PM on June 4, when his brother continued putting pressure they took him out of the ward and made Manoj wait for 1.5 hours in a wheelchair and didn’t treat him. It was around this time when Manoj texted his brother hoping to get treatment in a private hospital. After Manoj’s friend in the Media made calls to the Health Minister they began taking good care of him and moved him to the isolation ward.
On June 7, 2020, at around 9:30 in the morning, Sainath got a call stating that his brother is in critical condition and he is being shifted to the ventilator. Within a little while, he again got a call from the police department that his brother Manoj died. None of the doctors informed him about his brother. Sainath said that “The situation is such that we have to put pressure on treatment. For normal people, it is very difficult.”
Telangana Government Refuses to Claim
The state government refuses the claims of lack of facilities and says it to be false. Without taking anybody’s name, the CM on Monday in press note says, “Some people are spreading lies that Gandhi Hospital is overflowing with coronavirus patients. Some newspapers and TV channels are reporting fake news. But this is a blatant lie. In Gandhi Hospital we have facilities to treat 2, 150 patients. It has 1,000 beds with an oxygen supply facility. As on date, there are only 247 corona patients at the hospital.
Raja Rao, the Superintendent at the Gandhi Hospital earlier said that Manoj was treated by a team of doctors including physicians, anesthetists, and pulmonologists but because of the cardiac arrest he couldn’t be revived and was declared dead at 9:37 AM on June 7, 2020. Manoj was already suffering from Myasthenia Gravis, in which all muscles have weaknesses including respiratory muscles. For this, he underwent surgery in which his thymus gland was removed and he was on steroids for this condition. With all these difficulties he became a COVID- 19 positive patient and had bilateral pneumonia with type-1 respiratory failure and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. “We tried our best but Manoj couldn’t be revived”, the Superintendent said in a statement.
Manoj got married in September 2019 and his wife is pregnant. He has lost his sisters a few years ago and so he was looking for a child.