Covid patients ‘dying on the roads’ outside hospitals in India due to lack of oxygen and beds, doctor says

This video contains distressing images

Many Covid patients are dying in hospital car parks, ITV News Senior Correspondent Paul Davies reports


Covid-19 patients are «dying on the roads» outside hospitals as they cannot get enough oxygen, a doctor has said as he described the desperate situation in India.

Doctor Harjit Singh Bhatti, who has been looking after coronavirus patients throughout the pandemic, said he has not seen anything this horrific in the 10 years he has been in medicine.

India set another global record as it recorded 332,730 new infections in a day. The country also recorded 2,263 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The outbreak is getting worse as its underfunded health system struggles to stay on its feet.

The country put oxygen tankers on special express trains as major hospitals in Delhi begged on social media on Friday for more supplies to treat coronavirus patients.


‘I have not seen this type of situation where people are dying on the roads,’ says Dr Bhatti


Dr Bhatti described the situation as «very, very horrific».

He told ITV News: «I have never seen this type of situation in my whole medical career.

«From last 10 years I am practicing medicine, I have not seen this type of situation where people are dying on the roads.

«They are not able to get better. They are not able to get oxygen.»

He spoke about his struggles as a doctor and the tragic feeling of relief when a death means an extra bed for the next patient.


‘I grieve for my patient who lost their life, but I also have relief for those patients who will get their bed,’ says Dr Bhatti


Dr Bhatti said: «Even with my best possible efforts, I’m not able to provide that care to all my patients. And I am seeing that if I am treating one patient, then many of my patients are left untreated, or they are not able to get that adequate amount of attention, which they have to get.

«So even, I said this in my social media profiles also, I said that sometimes it is situation of grief and relief. Like I grieve for my patient who lost their life, but I also have relief for those patients who will get their bed. So it’s a type of very, very worrisome and very alarming situation.»

Due to the lack of hospital beds, many patients who need to be hospitalised are being treated at home, the doctor explained. Even smaller private hospitals have waiting lists of 25 to 50 people, he said.

A crematorium for mass cremation of Covid-19 victims, in New Delhi, India

Dr Bhatti said India’s second wave is worse than its first wave last year: «We were seeing the patients last year also, but that time very few patients required oxygen and very few will need a critical care, intensive care unit.

«But this time we are seeing that most of the patients are requiring oxygen and that oxygen is high, high flow of oxygen they are requiring.»

He added: «This time we are seeing that even the young patients the adults in their forties, fifties, even they are becoming so sick that they need intensive care and they need ventilation through non-invasive or by intubation.»

He criticised the Indian government, saying the healthcare system is «totally neglected».

He also accused the government of not focusing on testing and isolating infected patients, instead putting all its energy on a «new slogan that vaccination will do everything».


People thought vaccines were a treatment for coronavirus and stopped wearing masks or social distancing, doctor says


Dr Bhatti claims Covid vaccines were promoted as a treatment rather than a preventative measure.

He said: «So when vaccination came, the people thought that now we have a treatment for Covid virus and they just left all the precautions and they just started behaving as a normal thing.

«So that’s why they avoided masks. There is lots of gatherings going on everywhere. And because of all this neglect and misinformation and lack of awareness has resulted into this second wave.»

A major private hospital chain in New Delhi, Max Hospital, tweeted on Friday that one of its facilities had one hour’s oxygen supply in its system and had been waiting for replenishment since the early morning.

Health workers attend to a patient at the Jumbo Covid-19 hospital in Mumbai Credit: Rafiq Maqbool/AP

Two days earlier, they had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court saying they were running out of oxygen, endangering the lives of 400 patients, of which 262 were being treated for Covid-19.

As well as running Oxygen Express trains to meet the shortage of supplies in hospitals, the air force is airlifting oxygen tanks and other equipment to areas where they are needed, the government said. Doctors and nurses are also being flown to New Delhi.

The Supreme Court told Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on Thursday that it wanted a national plan for the supply of oxygen and drugs to treat Covid-19 patients.



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