The Arunachal Pradesh government claims to be well equipped for the COVID crisis, but a recent incident from Roing has highlighted the state’s weak healthcare system. A COVID-19 patient’s family from Roing informed EastMojo about the level of carelessness shown by hospital authorities towards a patient.

According to people EastMojo spoke with, on April 29 there was no light in Roing Hospital and the facility to supply oxygen to patients stopped. One particular patient’s oxygen level was dropping drastically towards 70 and as the patient was gasping for air, the family rushed to a nurse to help her out and use the manual oxygen cylinder.

However, to their horror, the family learned that the nurse was not even trained to fit the cylinder. And somehow when it was managed and put in place, although the cylinder’s meter showed full capacity, it finished within a few minutes. Three more cylinders were finished the same way that night.

Also Read: COVID-19 surge: Arunachal announces new containment zones

The desperate family had to call the electricity department to allocate the VIP line for the patient. The department connected the COVID-dedicated ward with the VIP line. “But the patient was warned that the light will not be up for long and the hospital has to start its generator. Later, when the VIP light went off and the patient started gasping for oxygen, it was found that the generator light was not connected to the COVID ward. Imagine the horrific situation where a patient and their family had to go through,” a person from Roing told EastMojo.

“The nurses are not trained to fit and use the manual oxygen cylinders. To make matters worse, most of the existing cylinders have only 20-30 % of oxygen. The nurses need to be trained immediately. Surprisingly, the officials do not know that COVID-dedicated wards need to have at least two dedicated, trained nurses. The ward needs to be equipped with 24/7 electricity. During testing too, we need to have a dedicated doctor on the spot, as I have witnessed after being tested positive many patients are leaving for home without meeting the doctor. DMO should take responsibility and take measure before someone succumbs to the disease,” the local added.

A doctor at Roing Hospital admitted that the recent surge in COVID cases had overwhelmed the hospital slightly but dismissed the family’s accusations that nurses aren’t trained adequately. “All our nurses are professionals, and there may have been some delay, but I don’t buy the argument that they did not know the procedure,” he said. The doctor added that so far, seven beds have been made ready for COVID-19 patients. They would increase this number as and when the need arises. “We have had two deaths, both in the early days of April, due to COVID-19 but after the lockdown was announced, the situation improved slightly. We can treat patients for up to pneumonia, but after that, they are referred to either Pasighat or Dibrugarh for treatment,” the doctor told EastMojo.

Arunachal Pradesh had emerged relatively unscathed from the first wave, but  the current caseload of Arunachal Pradesh rose to over 18,000 cases after the state reported its highest ever single-day spike of 220 new cases on Tuesday. 

Arunachal at present has 1,536 active cases while a total of 2,54,743 people have been inoculated in the state so far. 

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