What killed Sameer Phukan at JMCH? Corona or…

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HT Correspondent

JORHAT, Aug 2: The death of Sameer Phukan, a resident of Phukan Ali on Saturday night has brought to the fore the disgusting state of the healthcare system prevailing in Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH).

Bondita Acharya, cousin of Sameer in a Facebook post has slammed the system, after detailing how her brother Sameer alias Raju died allegedly without any treatment whatsoever as doctors waited for the Covid-19 test results which came too late.

So much for the boast that there are 19 seats in the ICU for Covid-19 patients and 25 for critical general patients.

Bondita, an alumnus of Assam Agricultural University (AAU) and an activist who has attended several international events including one at Geneva writes in her post:

“During the lockdown suddenly we all become very health conscious. Being a diabetic and for having blood pressure, my brother Raju became extra cautious and bought an oximeter to check his oxygen level. For past few days he developed cough and breathing problem and he found his oxygen level was going down to 90 and then further down to 85. So, on July 28, he decided to get admitted at JMCH for better health care. He totally believed the Health God of Assam and surrendered to him. My poor brother did not realise that he was actually entering to death cave. His first antigen test was coming negative and then they did the other test. He was given a place at JMCH and hospital instructed him to take care of himself.”

Indicting the hospital of gross negligence she further wrote: “Since July 28 he was all alone in a room. No one was there to help him to get water, put on oxygen. He was just told if you feel uneasy put on the oxygen mask on your own. It was a self service Covid Health facility without a visit of doctor, nurse or any health attended. If he complained of any health problem doctor prescribed some cough medicine from outside. His family supplied the medicine, food to him. His sugar level, blood pressure got increased. He called home and told, “No one is here. I have to take water of my own, put oxygen on my own”. Doctors expressed (cannot say formally) that their hands were tied with strict Covid Protocol. They can’t do anything without the Covid test result. He was lying at one place in JMCH from July 28 to 31 unattended without any treatment. At around 7pm on July 31 the much waited result came with positive mark and then immediately he was shifted to ICU for Covid treatment. The delay, lack of treatment, protocol, irresponsible attitude of hospital had already done so much of damage on his physical and mental health.”

“On August 1, hospital authority informed the family that his situation is improving and condition is stable. It was such a relief for all of us. Then again at around 9 pm the deadly call came and informed the family that he is no more,” she continued.

“We all got dumb by losing him at the age of 51. We became helpless, cannot go to meet each other due to Covid guideline and they have also got a red banner of Covid positive before the house,” she said.

“Who has killed him? Covid or Covid system? This is the complete failure of health system. At one hand the Health God takes the pride of high recovery rate by providing some paracetamol, vitamin C and self service health facility and on the other hand also terrorises people if we don’t avail the business in the hospital state will not be responsible for any health emergency. My obedient brother too got frightened and at the same time he also became optimistic for the recovery rate,” she said.

Like several others before her Bondita too has alleged that this was all about numbers. “The state has got a number more to reach to the tally of Health God of 65,000 number of Covid positive by August 15 and also money to Covid Fund. But we have lost our beloved brother Sameer Phukan, Raju. Would Sameer have lived had he received treatment on the day he had been admitted,” she added.

It may be mentioned that a group of citizens led by advocate Rintu Goswami had recently submitted a memorandum to chief minister and health minister urging intervention in treatment of critically ill patients at JMCH after a critical patient (non Covid) but with heart ailment was also allegedly left unattended by doctors at JMCH while they waited for the test results to come out.

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