NEW DELHI: A 78-year-old cancer patient who was struck in Delhi due to the lockdown after he came here for treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will finally return home after months of waiting.
Lal Babu Chaudhary came from Bihar's Samastipur in December last year for getting treatment for cancer, however, he could hardly complete his chemotherapy as the Covid-19 outbreak happened.
He was living in a shelter home near the hospital along with his wife. "I came to Delhi with my wife almost six months ago for receiving treatment as I am suffering from cancer, the hospital authorities refused an operation keeping in mind the health risks seeing my age.
"Later, chemotherapy was seen as an option and it began, however, even before it could be completed, hospital operation was curtailed given the spread of the pandemic," the elderly cancer patient who has been facing difficulty in walking and standing said.
"Since the outbreak happened, the treatment had to stop and we were shifted to a shelter home as we were earlier residing outside AIIMS. But, home is home and till how long could we live in these shelters? Now, I will return after the pandemic ends and the situations returns to normalcy," he added.
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Chaudhary and his wife aren't the only ones who have been facing the wrath during the complete lockdown, there are many other outstation patients who came to Delhi for treatment but are now stuck in the city as most of the hospitals are busy in handling the COVID-19 lot.
"I went back to my home but during the lockdown I had to come back as I was unwell. I was staying at Vishram Sadan of AIIMS and since then I was stuck here unless one social activist arranged buses for us to go back to our homes," said Nirmi Prasad Gupta, who is suffering from a severe kidney ailment.
Another patient, Moti Chand Majhi told that he came to Delhi for an operation but since the lockdown was imposed across the country to control the spread of COVID-19, he got stuck as there was no transportion facility available.
Social activist Yogita Bhayana along with some others and in full coordination with the authorities arranged for the travel of these outstation patients who had come to the national capital from different parts of the country in order to get treatment at the AIIMS and many others hospitals here.
While the arrangement was made mostly for the outstation patients, many migrant workers and students who were stuck here were also sent back to their hometowns, that too, free of cost. "My parents are not well, I had come to Delhi for seeking a job and getting them treated too. But since the lockdown was imposed, everything was shut and since then, we struggled a lot as there was difficulty in arranging food and shelter in the beginning. Now, we are going back home after being stranded for 2 months in Delhi. Yogita ma'am helped us to reach our home in Begusarai," 28-year-old Rita said.
While the migrants are walking long distances to reach their homes, many of these outstation patients who came to Delhi for treatment are unable to walk as majority of then are suffering from serious ailments.
Recently, the Delhi High Court asked AIIMS to look into the possibility of restarting its Out Patient Department (OPD) services in a limited way, in the next two weeks.
On Friday, the high court said there should be a system in place to ensure maintenance of facilities at night shelters being run in the national capital by the state-run Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), and directed involvement of NGOs and social workers to supervise functioning of the shelters.
The order came while hearing two PILs seeking to address the grievance of about hundred out-station patients and their attendants, residing in night shelters here, who were earlier being provided treatment for several ailments at the AIIMS, which allegedly stopped treating them after COVID-19 outbreak.
It also directed that any grievances, complaints or suggestions that DUSIB may receive in respect of any of its night shelters from such NGOs, or social workers, "should firstly be taken on record and action taken without any delay".
"All such aspects should be brought to the notice of the CEO of DUSIB within a day of the complaint/suggestion being received. DUSIB shall set up/create a cell, wherein such like complaints/ suggestions could be lodged..."