Infant’s death reveals failure of system

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Friday marked the fourth day since Srikant Patel buried his three-month-old son. Trying to reconcile with this, he repeatedly looks at all the medical reports and thinks if he could have done something to save his baby. Each time, the conclusion is the same: Karav died because of the apathy of Delhi’s health system.

“Covid protocol” is what Patel blames the most as he recollects the excruciating week he and his wife Ranju endured to get Karav treated for a congenital heart condition —Ventricular Septal Defect, colloquially called ‘dil mein chhed’ (hole in the heart).

“Karav was born on October 7 and 12 days later, it was found out that he had developed a hole in his heart. Doctors had told me he would need surgery but the doctors’ strike in Delhi pushed the date to first week of January. My real ordeal began when he was turned away by two prominent government
hospitals — Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan and G B Pant — citing rules that non-Covid cases
would not be attended there,” says Patel.

“Between January 5 and 10, I ran from one hospital to another, begging the doctors to save my child’s life but they were unwilling to look beyond the rulebook and sense the urgency of the matter. Finally, he
died on January 10. After all the troubles my family went through, I had a dead child in my hands.”

A glimmer of hope came when LNJP doctors told him to take the child to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital where he could be treated for Rs 2.5 lakh, but as a delivery executive with a family of four to support, the sum was way beyond Patel’s means.

His wife herself is suffering from TB and the couple has an elder son. “I would have gone to
a private hospital if I could. The system failed me,” Patel said with teary eyes. He also claimed to have been informed by the doctors that the newborn was found to be Covid positive and had high fever.

Lok Nayak Hospital director Dr Suresh Kumar told The Morning Standard that the newborn was not positive but had multiple defects at birth. “The child was too young to get operated on as it required multiple surgeries and he did not die of Covid-19,” Dr Kumar stated.

However, Dr Kumar did not say anything on the non-Covid facilities not being provided to patients, due to which a lot of them are suffering.



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