MUMBAI: Covid-19 Patients and their relatives approaching Mumbai hospitals, which are trying to accommodate as many patients as possible with their limited, creaking health infrastructure and overworked staff, have had to put up with squalor, uncleared bed pans and delayed disposal of dead bodies.

Take the case of a woman in her late 30s who was waiting outside Sion Hospital. “Her father is a Covid-19 patient. He died and she wants to have a last look at him. They are not letting her go upstairs,” said Kalavati (name changed) who was sitting beside her.

Kalavati, whose husband, fell in the bathroom 12 days back in Mulund, and was paralysed was brought to Sion hospital, where doctors told his wife that he is now infected with Covid-19.

“For the few days I was with him in the hospital ward, I used to take care of him. Now, they have forced the family members outside the hospital,” she said.

“When I was in the ward, I saw bedpans not being cleared for several hours, all of them lying near the patients’ beds, the whole ward was stinking of urine. For relatives like us it was unbearable to live there, I can’t imagine about the patients lying there. I used to feed my husband milk, because the staff refused to, as he was infected. Now that I am not allowed inside, I don’t think anyone is feeding him. I know he will die, but what do I do?” she says.

This is the story at Sion Hospital, whose Dean was recently removed after dead bodies were left lying in the wards next to patients being treated. The new Dean, Ramesh Bharmal, told ET, “We will get these checked out. We have deputed several nurses and staff to ensure that this does not happen. We will inquire into it immediately.”

Things are better managed at the state government-run St George Hospital in South Mumbai. The hospital surroundings are clean, with not many relatives milling about. The hospital receives some serious Covid19 cases.

Dr Akash Khobragade, superintendent of ST George Hospital, said, “We have 180 beds, of which 42 have ventilators, which are all occupied. We keep getting calls from other hospitals asking us to take patients. We find it bad to say no, but when beds are full, we have no option to say that.”

St George Hospital is going to add 100 beds which have ICU and ventilators facilities. The hospital added 30 beds on Saturday, which were occupied in just two hours, highlighting the acute shortage of beds.

The monsoons are a cause of worry for hospitals as the city gets to see more cases of malaria, dengue and leptospirosis. The influx of patients becomes so heavy that patients are found sleeping in makeshift beds on the floor of civic and government hospitals.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed. We have no doctors and nurses. Everything will be further stretched then,” said a doctor at a Civic hospital.

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