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India Covid crisis: Siblings spend 10 days in car-turned-ward for mother

Web Report/New Delhi
Filed on May 3, 2021

(Reuters file)

The duo slept in the front seats while their Covid-positive mother lay in the back with her oxygen cylinder in the trunk.


A pair of siblings spent 10 days in a car they had turned into a Covid ward after their mother- who needed dialysis- tested positive.

According to the Times of India, Payal Singh (25 and her brother Akash (23) had driven 240 kilometres in April 20 from Lakhimpur Kheri to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh for their 45-year-old mother Parul’s dialysis.

The hospital they were going to asked Parul to do an RT-PCR test, suspecting that she may have Covid because she had a fever.

“We gave her samples for the test, but since she was a suspected case of Covid-19, we had no other option but to spend the night in our car in the hospital’s parking lot and bought food from local joints,” said Payal. “Going to any relative’s place or hotel would have exposed them to infection.”

The hospital refused to conduct their mother’s dialysis when she tested positive for Covid. The siblings were able to find a private hospital that agreed to conduct the procedure but refused when Parul’s oxygen levels started to drop as they did not have any oxygen-supported beds.

The siblings stayed back in Lucknow till April 22, when they were able to get five small cans of oxygen for 1300 rupees (Dh 65) which only lasted for a few minutes. The hospital eventually performed Parul’s dialysis once her oxygen levels improved, but the issue of hospitalising her for Covid remained unaddressed.

“To maintain her oxygen levels, we made mother lie in prone position in the back seat and spent another night in the car, simultaneously searching for oxygen cylinders,” said Payal.

“Help came on April 23 when my father brought a cylinder from Lakhimpur in a hired care. We put her on oxygen support in the car itself and sent our father home to protect him from infection.”

The oxygen cylinder only bought temporary relief as the siblings continued in vain to search for an oxygen-supported bed, spending another night in their car.

Though the siblings had worn masks and gloves to protect themselves, Akash developed mild symptoms on April 22 and tested positive for Covid as well, with Payal taking charge by herself with only 12,000 rupees (Dh 600). The family used public toilets and sanitised seats with sanitising spray all the while.

“Finally, on April 24, my mother got a bed,” Payal said. “After her condition stabilised, she was discharged on April 30.”

The story originally appeared here.





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