Lucknow: The demonisation of the Markaz event which was blamed for the spread of COVID-19 has had far-reaching consequences for the Tabhligi Jamaat in particular, and Muslims in general. After a certain political party demonised Muslims and blamed them for spreading the novel coronavirus, the community faced discrimination on a large scale. Many patients from the community were not admitted for treatment after hospitals demanded a COVID-19 test report. In many cases, patients died due to a lack of treatment.
In a shocking incident from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, a 22-year-old woman and her family found themselves totally helpless when three hospitals refused to admit her. The woman, who had an intestine infection, died on May 9.
After running from one hospital to another in an ambulance, when Tajeem was finally admitted to a medical facility, it was too late, her relative, Wamique, told NewsClick.
"She started vomiting on May 5 at her home in Mawana. She felt better after an injection, but started complaining about abdominal pain and loose motion at night. She was injected again and we put her on a drip to maintain her blood pressure but the situation was not under control. Her condition started deteriorating the very next day (May 6). We first took her to Lokpriya Hospital in Meerut by ambulance but when they came to know we were from Mawana town, the hospital refused to admit her patient saying that we were from a city which is in the 'red zone', but our city was in the orange zone," he said.
The victim’s family then took her to Nutema Hospital in the city and she was admitted there since an acquaintance from Mawana worked there. However, the hospital receptionist declined to make a file for her when they came to know she was from Mawana.
"We managed to get her admitted due to a reference by a female medical staffer from our town who worked at Nutema Hospital. She was even shifted to the emergency ward and was supposed to be treated by Dr. V.K. Sharma,” said Wamique. He said that the doctor asked them to go to the reception and get her filed made so that they could begin with her treatment.
However, the receptionist asked them where they were from and when they mentioned Mawana, “the receptionist refused to prepare her file and she was thrown out from the emergency ward. We then took her Meerut Medical College where we were asked to go in for a COVID-19 test first, and keep her in 14 days of quarantine before any check up. She was deteriorating," he added.
“Can’t there be any medical emergencies other than COVID-19 during the lockdown? Is it right for hospitals to turn away patients needing emergency medical aid?” Wamique asked.
After running from pillar to post and being refused by several hospitals, Tajeem’s family finally got her admitted to Subharti Medical College in Meerut. “Her intestine was infected it was filled with water. She had a low hemoglobin count and even had a hole in her intestine. She was on ventilator for three days and died on May 9,” said Wamique.
Her family said that neither she nor anyone from the family or even her residential area had tested positive for COVID-19. Yet, Tajeem was denied admission to multiple hospitals.
Another Incident of Medical Apathy
In a similar incident on May 6, a pregnant woman died after she was denied treatment by several hospitals which demanded a COVID-19 test report before admission.
According to a report in Hindustan, the victim was identified as Amreen, a resident of Shyamnagar area in Lisari Gate. She was reportedly taken to several private hospitals on May 7 when she suffered labour pain. She was refused admission even after running from one hospital to another; they all demanded a COVID-19 test report first. Later, the report says that she was taken back home and delivered a stillborn baby girl with the help of a midwife,but Amreen died.
That is not all. An asthma patient from Meerut reportedly died due to a lack of oxygen at LLRM Medical College in the city. The patient was turned away by two private hospitals that feared she might have COVID-19.
Similarly, a cancer hospital in Meerut hit headlines after the hospital administration had released an advertisement on April 17 which said that they would not admit any Muslim patients. After it received flak and was condemned, the hospital apologised.
When asked how many cases have been traced back to the Tablighi Jamaat, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, an advocate who represents the organisation, told NewsClick that “most Muslims who test positive are being linked with the Tablighi Jamaat without any investigation to find the source of infection. According to the government, four thousand people associated with Tablighi Jamaat tested positive out of twenty thousand from across country but after April 18, the government stopped releasing any data related to Jamaat as they used to before the said date because they purpose was fulfilled,” he added.
With 53 new cases reported on Monday in Uttar Pradesh, the total number of positive cases in the state rose to 3,520 in 72 districts. The death toll in the state from COVID-19 is 79, the state Health Department said.
While interacting with media persons in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh's Principal Secretary (Health), Amit Mohan Prasad said: "In UP, 3,520 cases have been reported so far from 72 districts. Of the total, 1,655 have been treated and discharged while 79 deaths have been reported so far from due to the coronavirus. The total number of active cases are 1,786."
Of the total patients, 21.5% are women, he said, adding that the state government was using the Aarogya Setu app and also calling to alert people.