This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Biranchi Narayan Acharya. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

What Happens To Critical Patients If They Test Corona Positive?

More from Biranchi Narayan Acharya

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

My cousin-sister aged about 41, an Anganwadi worker, came to Bhubaneswar AIIMS on September 19, 2020, for treatment of her kidney which was seriously infected and even full of pus as per Scans by Aska/Berhampur doctors. The doctors opined that she needs urgent surgery as the kidney problem became critical for her survival.

AIIMS Bhubaneswar said that they would undertake a COVID-19 test before any examination of her disease. So, she gave a swab sample, and she was advised to report on September 22, 2020, if her COVID report came negative. They take around 72 hours for the test results.

She stayed at a lodge near AIIMS. But she suffered from tremendous pain on Saturday (19th September) night which continued till Sunday (20th September) afternoon. Thus, I asked her to be admitted to the emergency department of Apollo Bhubaneswar. Point to be noted that I was in isolation because of a possible false negative which I have explained in my previous article.

The Circus Of Hospitals

From Monday (21st September) onward all tests were carried out at Apollo, including the COVID test. Doctors of Apollo said that the kidney is fully damaged and needs to be removed through surgery. Thus at 10 AM on 23rd September, she was scheduled for her surgery. An undertaking was taken from her husband that if in the process, she becomes COVID positive, then the cost would be different. As per their advice, five people were ready to provide blood (through donation and exchange). However, the surgery was delayed citing many reasons.

At around 5 PM, I met the doctor at Apollo, asking as to why the surgery is delayed. The doctor said that they are waiting for the COVID test result, which hasn’t come. By that time, around Rs 1,30,000 was taken by the hospital for various tests and other incidental charges. The doctor said that the testing machine has some issues; thus, the report is not coming yet. I couldn’t understand why so many tests are done for surgery if at all, they are to wait for the COVID test result.

Representational Image.

By that time, I recalled that she had given samples at AIIMS on 19th September. Thus, one of my colleagues rushed to AIIMS to get the result, and the result was she tested positive. I was with the doctor and showed him the result that I received via WhatsApp. The doctor’s behaviour immediately changed and said that the Apollo result would also be positive. He intimated this to the Apollo lab at 5.30 PM.

The Apollo authorities said that they couldn’t do anything as she’s positive. It’s now the responsibility of BMC (Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation). Soon, her room became an isolation room, and no nurse attended even after the repeated emergency bell. Nurses said that they are authorised to give just paracetamol. Interestingly my sister was asymptomatic.

Now two things bewildered me. First, they had taken an undertaking that if she’s positive, the cost will be different. What happened to that undertaking?

Second, the doctor asked the lab whether the report is ready, the lab authority denied. AIIMS report was given to the doctor at 5.30 PM, which he communicated to the laboratory. I find the Apollo COVID test report as positive, which is released at 3.20 PM. The point is if by 5’o clock the report wasn’t ready how come the report is timed at 3.20 PM?

Anyway, we started contacting the BMC authorities for shifting her to COVID hospital. BMC people were angry as to why she was admitted to a private hospital. I tried to convince them that no hospital private or government was ready to admit a patient without a COVID test. Also, the patient required to be tested negative else no hospital will admit. Apollo, for whatever reason at least admitted her and gave some anti-biotic and pain killers.

Where Would A Corona Positive Chronic Disease Patient Go?

After a lot of follow up, BMC finally shifted her on 24th night to KIMS hospital. I thought at least KIMS will provide necessary treatment and if required urgent surgery too. But KIMS people said that they would offer necessary treatment for COVID only and nothing else. After the 10-day mandatory hospitalisation, she will be discharged for further treatment at whatever hospital we can.

We contacted AIIMS. They said that they can admit after 25 days of Corona infection and that too she must be tested negative. We contacted AMRI, Bhubaneswar, who said that they could treat her provided either she tested negative by KIMS or by their laboratory. KIMS denied for any testing and said that they would discharge. The point was, where would she go?

We requested KIMS Medical Superintendent to keep her for another couple of days so that we can arrange other hospitals or doctors. He was a kind gentleman and agreed to use his influence; else the protocol is different. I searched everywhere knowing her critical condition, but none agreed to admit her for treatment until she’s tested negative. I just asked what will happen when a very critical patient comes and tests positive? The answer was simple. No one can help the patient because no-one will treat if someone becomes positive. Most deaths occur because of the non-treatment of the disease of Corona positive patients.

I was feeling threatened as my sister continuously complained of her acute pains because no one was treating her real problem. KIMS also didn’t allow other private agencies to take samples from her for a COVID re-test.

health officials in ppe
Representational image.

On 4th October, KIMS discharged my sister, on the ground that she’s asymptomatic and needs to be stayed at home isolation and no reference regarding the actual kidney problem nor refer it to any other hospital.

The same day she gave her swab to a private lab (authorised) so that she can be tested negative, making her admit to some other hospitals.

Adding salt to injury, the test report came on 5th October as positive. This was a painful situation. But as I was a victim of false-positive, I decided to take a risk for another test at AMRI hospital.

Earlier the doctor at AMRI hospital told us that there’s no need for kidney removal surgery; instead, they will put some pipes to take out the pus and provide antibiotics for healing.

This was different from Apollo’s opinion of the kidney-removal surgery. Also, I was a bit apprehensive about Apollo because of their delay in the COVID test result but carried a lot of tests. Thus, I asked my sister to give her sample to AMRI again on 5th October without citing the private lab report. If she tests positive, then we will ask the doctor to provide medicines for two weeks, although according to many doctors she won’t survive if the pus is not taken out.

Should Critical Patients Be Left Helpless If They Test Corona Positive?

However, a miracle happened. On 6th October 2020, the AMRI lab reported that she is tested negative. Immediately we took her to AMRI and got her admitted. The doctor said that there’s too much delay and there’s a 50-50 chance of her survival, and the treatment is going to cost very heavy. The point is, what’s the alternative? She’s very poor. I can help her to some extent. But then, can I see her dying?

The point is simple, had she got timely treatment, the cost would have been less, and her survival chance would have been more! But let’s hope for the best.

If you have some medical urgency and you tested positive, then no one is going to treat you unless you are influential, a minister or some VIP. Perhaps most of the corona related deaths are happening because no one is ready to treat one’s real disease if they test positive. This is an unfortunate but bitter truth.

The counter logic is that many doctors are infected and also died because of treating such positive patients. Yes, that might be a reason. But then should the medically critical patients be left helpless if they test positive?

I think the government should look into it and the media should raise this issue seriously. I don’t know what will happen to my sister, but let there be a way out to treat critical patients even if they test positive.

You must be to comment.
  1. Biranchi Narayan Acharya

    The good news is that My sister recovered and today she is being released thanks to AMRI. But then the point remains whether all others are lucky like her to survive?

More from Biranchi Narayan Acharya

Similar Posts

By Godhuli Barat

By Yuvaniya

By Akash Raj

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below