India is witnessing an enormous spike in the second wave of the pandemic after the rise of cases dropped last year dropped. India’s Covid-19 death toll surpassed 200,000 as the World Health Organisation said variants are behind the spike. The healthcare system is in a dire state with a lack of beds, hospitals turning away patients, shortages, and the black-market selling medicines and oxygen. Patients have been left to fend for themselves. For many it’s a slow and gradual road to death. “Even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living,” Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon, wrote in his piercing memoir, When Breath Becomes Air.
There are only small mercies for the gasping victims of a deadly virus in India today, writes Soutik Biswas – BBC India correspondent 25 April, 2021
Many patients have died in the past few weeks after oxygen ran out in some hospitals.
- Emergency needs of necessities, medicines, and other daily needs
- Psychological needs to be strong and positive as one goes through a truly emotional and psychologically painful experience doubting the future of existence
- Practical needs of emergency support if the need arises – oxygen concentrators, ICU and oxygen beds in hospitals, ambulance services, CT Scans, and even fatality
Our team is already working on the ground 18 hours a day – in 6 hour shifts each. Its a long and tiring day as we deal with emergency calls through the day from as far as Jaipur, Bareilly or Saharanpur. We need more manpower right now. We need more people in the team. We also have doctors available on call for patient needs, and have got some oxygen concentrators but need to buy more as there is not enough to share around as each unit can be used for a few days to a week or more depending on the need of the patient.
Our counsellors are available to assist with any emotional stress and needs that arise from fatigue, pain, or loss.
Our primary aim is to make people identify the virus early so we can guide them through proper home based care towards recovery.
Challenges we are seeing on the ground now include black fungus caused by industrial oxygen used instead of medical oxygen, as well as sudden heart attack cases leading to instant death. Government has control over some medicines which otherwise were being sold in the black market for huge unbelievable sums.