With hospitals occupied, Covid-19 patients are dying at homeAt least four persons died in home isolation over the past few days, as they could not find hospitals that would take them in.
Thakur Singh Tharu & Rupa Gahatraj
On Monday evening, a 69-year-old man of Khajura Rural Municipality Ward No. 2 in Banke complained of difficulty in breathing. He died on his way to a hospital in Nepalgunj the same night.
The man had stayed in home isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 on Sunday. Since Bheri Hospital in Nepalgunj and Nepalgunj Medical College Teaching Hospital in Kohalpur were fully occupied, he chose to self-isolate at home. His family took him to the hospital for treatment only after his condition worsened.
Another 55-year-old Covid-19-infected man in Ward No. 3 of Khajura, who had stayed at an isolation centre of Khajura Rural Municipality, died on Saturday. Family members of the deceased say he died for want of treatment at the isolation centre.
After showing symptoms similar to that of Covid-19, the man had been taken to Nepalgunj-based Teaching Hospital for treatment. But health workers at the hospital did not admit the patient citing bed shortage, according to the family of the deceased. He was then admitted to the isolation centre on April 30.
“Only two employees are on duty at the isolation centre and there are no doctors. My father did not receive proper treatment,” Anil Tiruwa, the deceased’s son, told the Post. “My father had low concentration of oxygen. He died for want of treatment.”
The number of Covid-19 patients in Banke staying in home isolation has increased in recent weeks, according to health workers. As many as 3,559 patients are staying in home isolation across the district.
In Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan City alone, currently, as many as 1,290 people are staying in home isolation, according to the City office. Of the 23 wards in the sub-metropolis, ward 10 has the highest figure with 235 people staying in home isolation.
Since mid-April when the second wave of the pandemic hit the country, a total of 6,840 persons from Banke have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the data at the Ministry of Health and Population.
Almost all Covid-19 designated health institutions in Banke have been overcrowded with patients and most hospitals are reeling under a shortage of oxygen and ventilators.
Health workers are overwhelmed in hospitals as patients continue to arrive.
The sub-metropolis has set up an isolation centre at the White House Hotel for those with mild Covid-19 symptoms. Another isolation centre with oxygen beds has been set up at Ramlila Maidan.
A 51-year-old man of Ward No. 5 in Baijanath Rural Municipality, who had stayed in home isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 on April 25, also died last week. He died while being taken to a hospital, according to family members.
On April 29, a 32-year-old woman of Khajura Rural Municipality Ward No. 7 also died of Covid-19 at Bheri Hospital. She had been staying in home isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 on April 23. According to health workers at Bheri Hospital, her condition had already worsened when she arrived at the hospital six days after testing positive for the virus.
Health workers of the respective local units should be deployed to inquire about the condition of those staying in home isolation. According to the health guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Population for the isolation of Covid-19 patients, health workers of the local units concerned should call or send text message to Covid patients at least twice a day to keep track of their condition.
But Ram Bahadur Chand, the health unit chief at the Nepalgunj Sub Metropolitan City, said that monitoring the conditions of the people in home isolation has been difficult due to a shortage of staff.
“The health workers of the respective ward office follow up on the people staying in home isolation. We refer patients to Covid-19 wards if their condition is found to be serious,” said Chand.
Deputy Mayor Uma Thapa Magar of Nepalgunj said the local unit has instructed health workers to regularly inquire about the condition of people in home isolation, provide them with counselling and have them admitted to hospitals whenever needed.