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COVID-19 stigma: Shunned by hospitals, patient with cough dies in Odisha

From Jeypore in Koraput to Ganjam’s Berhampur, the man and his relatives knocked doors of several hospitals only to be refused admission as well as treatment.

Published: 18th April 2021 03:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2021 09:08 AM   |  A+A-

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Representational Image. (File Photo)

Express News Service

JEYPORE: Covid has made a comeback, so has the stigma attached to the deadly virus. In yet another case of shocking medical apathy, a 35-year-old man lost his life after being allegedly refused treatment by doctors on suspicion of Covid-19. 

From Jeypore in Koraput to Ganjam’s Berhampur, the man and his relatives knocked doors of several hospitals only to be refused admission as well as treatment.

The youth, suffering from cough, was rushed to Bhubaneswar by family members in hope of a cure but he breathed his last in a private hospital in the State Capital.

A native of Churiaguda village near Dharmagarh in Kalahandi district, the youth was staying with his in-laws at Ekamba village in Jeypore block.

The ordeal began at around 6 pm on Friday when the youth, a hotel owner was taken to Jeypore district headquarters hospital (DHH) by his in-laws as he had developed cough four days back.

The in-laws were taken by surprise when the doctor on duty at the DHH referred the man to Saheed Laxman Naik Medical College and Hospital (SLNMCH) within five minutes of their arrival. 

The youth was rushed to the MCH at around 7.30 pm in an ambulance and admitted to bed no. 219 for treatment.

Though his in-laws pleaded with the hospital staff for immediate attention, no one allegedly responded as they suspected that the patient might be infected with Covid-19. 

At around 8.30 pm, a doctor arrived to attend the patient but he too referred him to MKCGMCH in Ganjam district within a couple of minutes.

Though his relatives requested the doctor to treat him there as the MCH had ICU facilities, all their pleas fell on deaf ear. The helpless relatives shifted the patient to MKCG at Berhampur in night.

The traumatic experience did not end here. When they reached MKCG at around 7.30 am on Saturday, in-laws said, none of the hospital staff came to attend the patient after being told that he had cough.

They had to wait till 9 am for the doctor’s arrival. The doctor refused to accommodate the patient stating that there was no room for suspected Covid patients.

Without even giving basic medicines, he referred the patient to a Covid hospital in Bhubaneswar. 

Finding no other option, the relatives started their journey to Bhubaneswar with the patient. But on reaching Sum Hospital at 12 noon, the patient collapsed and breathed his last. The man had married only two months back. 

“The patient was suffering from cough and required immediate medication. But all doctors suspected him of having Covid-19 and turned us away. Had the doctors at Koraput MCH attended to him last night, he would have been alive,” said a sobbing Samir, the patient’s brother-in-law.

Sources said this was not an isolated case. Many patients are being turned away by Jeypore DHH and SLNMCH despite having all facilities including ICU to treat Covid-19 infected persons. Superintendent of SLNMCH Koraput did not respond to calls.

Chief district medical officer of Koraput Makaranda Behura said district health administration has no say in the activities of SLNMCH. 
 



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