BENGALURU: A whopping 55 per cent of Covid-19 patients in the country who managed to get ICU beds, could do so only with clout or connections, a survey by LocalCircles, released on Tuesday, has revealed.
According to the survey, only 13 per cent of those who required Covid-19 management drugs were able to get it through hospitals while others had to bank on clout/connections, excess payments and bribes. Interestingly, Covid warriors in Bengaluru agree that the findings are true and point out that they receive more than 100 calls every day.
Speaking to TNIE, Ameen E Muddassar, an educationist who also handles a Covid helpline portal in Bengaluru, was in tears when he said, “I feel so helpless. I receive at least 100 calls a day. In the last four days, I could help only about 20 to 30 and not more. The situation has gone out of control.”
He explained that most of the people who call him are looking for ICU beds, oxygen beds, plasma, Covid-19 management drugs, such as Tocilizumab and Remdesivir. “It is true that only clout and connections work. Unfortunately, in Bengaluru, we have sort of exhausted those too. I have pulled strings to ensure people get beds, oxygen, etc., but nothing seems to be working now,” said an exasperated Ameen who even released an emotional video, which went viral. He was seen pleading with the people of Bengaluru to voluntarily lock down saying that the situaiton is very bad.
“While some are seeking beds for their mother, some seek oxygen for their son, it is heart-wrenching. I am helpless. The situation is bad. Please stay indoors and I request the State Government to please make arrangements,” he says.
The LocalCircles survey was conducted across 309 districts and received over 17,000 responses, of which 68 per cent of respondents were men and 32 per cent were women. Around 49 per cent of the respondents were from tier-1 cities, 28 per cent from tier-2 cities and 23 per cent were from tier-3, 4 and rural districts.
From 8,645 responses received through social media platforms, 42 per cent respondents said they had to use clout or connections to secure an ICU bed, 24 per cent said they had to follow up extensively to secure an ICU bed, 3 per cent said they had to escalate via social media or complain to the government while 13 per cent said they had to do all of the above. Five per cent of the respondents said they did not get an ICU bed in the past 45 days.
Meanwhile, Asha Suryanarayan, a Covid warrior, volunteer, coordinator for blood banks and social worker, says, “I have been rendering Covid service from last March. I have so far managed to help about 150 patients get ICU beds and oxygen.