Covid-19 Patient’s Body at a Bus Stop: There’s No Dignity Even in Death for India’s Poor

Coronavirus

Covid-19 Patient’s Body at a Bus Stop: There’s No Dignity Even in Death for India’s Poor

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

The coronavirus pandemic has left millions of poor Indians in a lurch. Many have battled starvation and many scumbbed to accidents. Yet almost two months into the lockdown, the situation on the ground continues to be dire.

In a shocking incident in Ahmedabad – one of the worst affected cities in the country – a 67-year-old Covid-19 positive patient’s body was found at a bus stand on Friday. The patient was admitted to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on May 10 and tested positive for the new coronavirus two days later. His son received a call from the police on May 15, informing him that his father’s body was found at the bus rapid transit system station near Danilimda Crossing in Ahmedabad.

Dr MM Prabhakar, the officer on special duty at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, said, told The Quint, “The patient had very mild symptoms and as per new protocols, he was asked to home quarantine. He was discharged on May 14 (a day before his body was found). When he was being discharged, he was adequately fit. The hospital’s transport system took him from the hospital but probably because the road was congested near his house, he was dropped at a neighbouring bus stand.”

It is believed that he was asked to walk home from the bus stand. He was found dead by a security guard at the stop, who informed his seniors and they rushed to the spot. The body was then taken to VS Hospital and later his family was informed.

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani has ordered a probe into the patient’s death and said that the people responsible will face stern action.

The lockdown has stripped the poor of dignity, even in death. In yet another heartbreaking photograph that went viral on Saturday, a man can be seen cradling a sick friend on the side of the road. No one stopped to help them and eventually the friend died.

The two childhood friends Saiyub and Amrit were travelling from Surat to Uttar Pradesh

atop a truck when Amrit fell ill and his situation kept deteriorating. Neither the driver nor the other passengers thought it was wise to change the route and try finding a doctor. Instead he was asked to deboard the truck near Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh.

Saiyub decided not to leave his friend alone.

He called out to passers-by but received no help. Hours later, an ambulance arrived but it was too late. Amrit died in a hospital because of complications related to heat.

Saiyub has now been quarantined in an isolation ward of a district hospital, awaiting results of the coronavirus test.

Millions of poor have been abandoned by India’s states, Centre, and even its highest court. And now many are meeting their death on the road.

Saiyub put his head in his lap (in a photo that went viral on social media), a half-empty water bottle and a red backpack by their side. Before an ambulance arrived, he kept wetting a handkerchief and wiping Amrit’s forehead to lower his temperature.

Help eventually arrived, Amrit was shifted to ICU and kept on a ventilator but passed away on Friday night. His friend Saiyub didn’t leave his side even in his dying moments, leaving even the doctors shocked, who recalled “Even ward boys are scared to touch patients these days.”

Instances like these expose the vulnerable structures of our society and how we have not been able to help thousands of people, from providing them with basics like food or water, helping them get back home or even giving them the bare minimum of dignity in death.

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