Dialysis patients flood social media with distress posts | India News


NEW DELHI: Urgent pleas for help, distress calls and SOS messages regarding medical emergencies, especially from those undergoing dialysis, flooded social media on Wednesday, the first day of the 21-day lockdown to control the spread of Corona virus. TOI spoke to some them on phone.
In Mumbai, Rahul, 41, who has been undergoing dialysis for the last seven years, had a “harrowing” time coming back from the hospital. “I generally take a rickshaw to reach the centre as it’s barely 3km from my house. In the morning. Today I changed two buses to reach the hospital, which is understandable during such times. But during my return journey buses refused to let me board, saying they only had orders to ferry government officials,” he said.
Rahul had to make several requests to the conductor and even get in touch with the bus depot authorities to let him board a bus. Misinformation still rules. “One of them even told me he didn’t want me to take the bus because he didn’t want to catch the virus,” he said.
A patient from Gujarat, who does not own a private vehicle, said he deferred his dialysis by a day because he could not travel to the hospital. “We have sought the help of the administration,” said the 40-year-old, who has been undergoing dialysis for the last forty years.
“It’s nothing short of a nightmare. We just want the administration to allow limited autos and taxis to ply. Many dialysis centers are cutting down on dialysis frequency from 3 to 2. This could lead to serious health problems,” said another patient, Sejal, adding that she has rescheduled her procedure at least twice since there were no autos to take her to the hospital.
“Dialysis is a life-saving procedure, which allows people with kidney failure to survive by cleaning their blood. We need the authorities to cooperate and generate awareness around such emergencies. If this procedure is delayed, it can leave toxins like urea, creatinine and water in your blood, which can be poisonous,” said nephrologist Bhupender Gandhi.
However, some people are fighting to make things better for such patients. Hospitals, too, have started issuing emergency cards, which can be shown to law enforcement agencies. Samiir Halady, a 47-year-old freelance market strategist, who also undergoes dialysis sessions, has been working closely with the local administration to ensure that the problem gets sorted at the earliest.
“We can be on the ground and give our inputs, but only the government has the infrastructure and resources to execute these suggestions that can ease problems for the patients,” he said.
Halady, who is associated with the Amar Gandhi Foundation in Mumbai, an advocacy group that generates awareness around kidney diseases, told TOI that commuting between houses and hospitals is a big problem for people who do not have private cars.
Kidney Warriors founder, Vasundhara Raghavan, said she has been flooded with medical emergency requests since the lockdown. “People are calling from all over — Punjab, Tamil, Nadu, Maharashtra. We are trying to provide them the guidance they need,” she said.
Caregivers, too, are facing problems. “My father’s physiotherapist who comes from Ghaziabad wasn’t allowed to come to my home yesterday morning. Despite telling the policemen about the patient being bed-ridden and needing physiotherapy twice a day, he wasn’t allowed,” said a resident of Delhi.
People working closely with the administration believe things will take some time to streamline, but eventually will. “People who need radiotherapy, or chemotherapy, and even people undergoing dialysis are getting impacted. But we are dealing with an unprecedented situation. When a natural calamity happens, we know how we can handle it, but this is completely new for everyone. It can be solved at the local level, but we can do it only under proper supervision. We need control rooms in every district and a nodal officer who oversees emergency cases,” said Anand Lal Banerjee, Uttar Pradesh former DGP, who has been working closely with Maharashtra administration to ensure that emergency services continue to remain unaffected.
(Some names have been changed to protect identities)



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