Covid: Indian doctor cried ‘incessantly’ after witnessing six deaths in a day

ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner spoke to Dr Prakamya Singal about being in the eye of the Covid storm

A doctor working on the front line during India’s second coronavirus wave has described how she cried «incessantly» after witnessing six deaths in a single day.

The country’s official Covid death toll has passed 250,000, but the figures are considered to be a vast undercount due to inadequate testing and records.

India now has an overall total of 23 million confirmed Covid cases, the health ministry said.

The World Health Organization says India accounted for half of the global number of cases reported last week, and it is recording more cases per day than the rest of the world put together.

Dr Prakamya Singal, 28, works at Safdarjung Hospital which is one of the main public hospitals in Delhi.

Despite specialising in psychiatry, Dr Singal was drafted in to care for coronavirus patients in their main Covid ward because of the worsening crisis, which she has described as «like a pile of dominoes going down».

Dr Singal’s own mother was among the patients being treated in ICU – she has since recovered and left hospital.

Her daughter described it as a «nightmare».

Dr Singal has witnessed a shift in the demographic of patients admitted to hospital, even treating a 15-year-old.

She said: «Earlier, the demographic was above 50, above 60 years of age, but now we have almost an equal proportion of people who are 60 or 70 years of age and people who are 20-40 years of age.»

Dr Prakamya Singal says she feels «let down» by the Indian government’s handling of the crisis.

But many patients in need of a bed in intensive care have been turned away due to demand outweighing supply.

«We just have to send them away and we don’t know where they would go.

«It creates such a difficult situation for the doctors who have to make that difficult choice, no-one wants to be in that position.»

The medic paid tribute to her colleagues across medical specialties in India who have worked tirelessly through the second wave to care for patients.

A Covid-19 patient waits to be given oxygen for his breathing difficulties outside a government-run hospital in Jammu Credit: Channi Anand/AP

Dr Singal has criticised the Indian government’s handling of the pandemic saying «everyone feels let down».

«Imagine the community having to step up in the role of administrators in a way coming onto social media, creating these bubbles of knowledge and information, having to verify where hospital beds are available or not.

«This is not the job of the people. The people are paying their taxes.

«This is not what you’d be expecting your healthcare professionals to do where they would need to walk into these wards of death with poor quality PPE and inadequate protections.

«What feels unfair and unjust and difficult to come to terms with is when you find someone losing their life because you could not provide them the adequate facilities at the right time.

«You feel that nobody should die because they didn’t get an ICU bed on time.»

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has extended its coronavirus appeal to include India in order to provide aid and medical supplies to the country. Those wishing to donate can do so here.

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