The death of two people infected with coronavirus at the hospital ward where he has been staying was the last straw. COVID-19 patient Shailendra Sinha, who has been waiting for a doctor to see him for 10 days at a hospital in Bihar’s Darbhanga, says he had no choice left but to sit on a dharna at the door of the ward.
After spreading a thick rug on the concrete by the door, the spectacled man adjusts his belongings – two bags of clothes and some personal utensils like flasks – and sits crossed legged.
“No doctor has come to see me for 10 days. The situation is so bad the oxygen cylinder that they gave me ran out of gas two days ago. I asked them for a replacement, but there’s no response,” says Mr Sinha.
“They have neither taken any health information from me nor given instructions even on the phone. This when two people have already died in this ward,” says Mr Sinha. “What’s the benefit of staying in hospital when the situation is very bad? I made some noise till they gave me a discharge ticket to go home,” Mr Sinha said.
Mr Sinha joins a long list of complaints by COVID-19 patients over lack of attention from doctors, who are also stretched thin due to the high caseload. This is not the first time a coronavirus patient has hit out over lack of attention. Reports from across the country have regularly pointed out crumbling infrastructure at COVID-19 care centres and doctors not available when they are needed.
Bihar has reported over 54,000 coronavirus cases so far. It is the 10th state with the biggest number of cases in the country. The state is also working on rehabilitating people affected by floods; over 26,000 are in government-run shelters now.
The country reported a new record surge this morning in coronavirus cases with 57,118 fresh infections in the last 24 hours, taking the cases to 16,95,988, government data shows.