Negative wait for positive patients in Chandigarh: ‘Is this the way authorities treat coronavirus patients?’

Patients in Chandigarh who tested positive for COVID-19 said that they are still waiting for the Chandigarh administration to respond despite reporting to them that they have come out positive.

If you have been reported COVID positive, chances are you will have to wait for days to get any sort of help or treatment from the Chandigarh Administration. This is what has been experienced by some COVID positives in the city who are still waiting for the administration to respond despite reporting to them that they have come out positive.

The Indian Express has addresses and names of the patients who are still trying to get help from the administration. However, their details have been withheld to protect their privacy.

A resident of Sector 46 who works in a bank said that it was on September 16 that he was tested positive for coronavirus and since then he has been trying the helpline and almost every other number given by the administration, but no one has come to help him.

“I wasn’t well and experienced some symptoms. When I got myself checked, I was reported positive on September 16. I then called at helpline 9779558282 but no one picked it up for two days. Then I tried contacting people in Municipal Corporation office to sanitise my premises so that the contagion could not spread but whosoever answered my call said that he will forward my details but there was no response. Then I took the number of GMCH-32 and contacted them on September 20 and they told me that if I am positive, the information should come through a proper channel like the laboratory and they wouldn’t believe me. They did not prescribe any medicine to me. Since then I have been waiting for someone to help me out,” he said.

The patient added, “This morning when the numbers of home isolation came, I contacted there too. They took my details but no one came. Is this the way they treat COVID patients?”

An elderly patient from Sector 40-D has been going through a harrowing experience.

The patient is 62 years old and lives with his wife. He had fever and took medicines after consulting a nearby doctor over the phone. Though the fever subsided after three-four days of taking medicine but cough was persistent. The patient then got himself tested. His sample was taken on September 18 and he was reported COVID positive on September 20.

Explaining his ordeal, he said that he called at the helpline 1075 on September 20 to inform them that that he was positive. He was further directed to the Chandigarh helpline number 9779558282.

He then called 9779558282 several times but was told that their sector falls within the jurisdiction of GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, and was given the number of GMCH, 9646121642.

“My father-in-law then called GMCH no. 9646121642. He was told to isolate and wait for the MC health team to visit home. There was no response and then called the GMCH no. 9646121642 again on September 21 after 3 pm. We were told to wait as the MC health team will visit but there was no response,” the son-in-law of the patient said.

After waiting for long, the next day the patient’s family contacted at GMCH no. 9646121642 and the woman at the other side of the phone gave a list of medicines to be taken. She said that the MC health team will visit their house without even taking any personal details like address or name.

“Being aged, my father-in-law was getting uneasy though the symptoms had vanished. He just had a sore throat, but psychologically one gets more stressed with age. And just a call or visit of a doctor/official does help in healing and gives a feeling of security,” he added.

On the afternoon of September 22, they called at the helpline number 9779558282 and a person picked up the phone.

“The person did not respond properly. Then I lost my patience and raised my voice a bit. He disconnected the call. I called again and without even listening to me, he told me to first learn to speak and disconnected the call again even when I was saying that we have been trying to get help for days now. Then for the fourth time, I called and he said that cases are coming in high numbers so there is no surety,” he stated.

On Wednesday morning, UT released phone numbers for rapid response team as well.

While sharing his family’s ordeal, the son-in-law said, “The team from Centre has visited Chandigarh to reduce the gaps and one of its findings was to reduce the time taken to contact the positive patients and bring it to less than 24 hours. But the Chandigarh helpline which should be the authentic information provider was not sure that the health officials are visiting home. They keep lingering and should have suggested during the first call itself the medicines to be taken.”

Messages about how patients were not getting help were sent to UT Health Secretary Arun Gupta, UT Adviser Manoj Parida and Director Health Services but they saw the message and did not respond.

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