Poor patient turned down by three government hospitals

Swami Narayan, 65, felt severe headache and stiffness in the neck nearly two months ago.

Then the condition got coupled with a feeling of blankness — he could not perform even daily chores with normal efficiency. That was when he went to Dr Hedgewar Hospital in east Delhi.

But even after taking medicines for a few days, he did not recover. A second visit to hospital and an MRI scan showed that he was suffering from meningitis.

“The doctor told me that I should get a surgery done in matter of a months, otherwise my condition will deteriorate fast. The hospital refused admission on grounds that no bed was free,” said Narayan.

A rickshaw puller, Narayan was unable to afford treatment in a private hospital. He was then referred to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). “Our hospital has even more acute problem of lack of beds. All other hospitals in the city also send patients here,” said a senior resident of AIIMS.

Narayan was told that he will not be given a bed due to long stay.

“In AIIMS, I was told that my condition may need a stay for over a month. They said they do not give beds for such long stays,” said Narayan. His prescription shows ‘no bed available’ as the reason for denial of treatment.

Narayan also told AIIMS authorities that since he is from Delhi, he can manage without staying in hospital and keep coming for regular check-ups. “But I think in my condition a long stay is necessary because I need to be under constant observation,” he said.
He finally went to GB Pant Hospital.

“They also refused on similar grounds. So I cannot be treated without being admitted for long in hospital. But I cannot be admitted because there is no free bed,” said Narayan.

He said his wife, who makes embroidery patters for a textile boutique, is the sole earning member for four persons in his family.

His daughter, a little over two years old, has not had milk in the last 10 days.

“There is no money to eat food. Where does the question of milk arise?”

Now, Narayan is busy writing to the health minister and the chief minister about his condition and expecting some relief. Meanwhile, his condition is getting worse, as seen from his subsequent check-up reports.   

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