Dongri man who gave dignity to the dead loses his life after five hospitals in Mumbai rejected him

MUMBAI: Out of breath, a 52-year-old man died after being allegedly thrown from one South Mumbai hospital to another. Calls to 1916, BMC's helpline, gave no concrete response. Khalid Ali Shaikh passed away early Saturday, just four hours after he managed to find a bed at St George State Hospital.

Shaikh had dedicated the last five years of his life to giving a dignified burial to the many who died in the city but whose remains could not be brought home to Kerala. He headed a committee formed for this purpose. It is unfortunate that my father has not had a chance to fight for his life, said his son, Shahbaz, adding that they spent two and a half hours going from hospital to hospital in a taxi on Friday.

They went to five hospitals, of which two tested their father's oxygen levels. No one was willing to admit it despite his exhausting oxygen levels.

The deceased was diabetic and suffered from fever and weakness for the past four days, which worsened around 8 p.m. Friday.

Shahbaz said they took a taxi and headed to Prince Aly Khan Hospital in Mazgaon, where his father's oxygen saturation and pulse levels were checked. They said her symptoms were similar to those of Covid-19 and referred us to H N Reliance Hospital, she said. H N Reliance offered an ambulance to take him to a dedicated Covid hospital in Marol.

They then made their way to HN Reliance Hospital on Charni Road, where their oxygen and pulse levels were once again measured.

Since the hospital is not a dedicated Covid-19 hospital, he offered to organize an ambulance and send Shaikh to SevenHills in Marol, which is a dedicated Covid hospital. A hospital spokesman said the son, who was advised by doctors and explained everything, was unwilling to take his father to Marol.

“I was already out of breath and looked fragile. I didn't want to make him travel all the way, the son said.

With a high pulse rate of 137 versus a normal of 90 to 100 and an oxygen saturation level of 89% versus a normal of 90% to 100%, they headed to Saifee Hospital on Charni Road. By now, 40 minutes had passed. The person who runs the BMC helpline told them he would be back in 45 minutes with the condition of the beds in the hospitals.

The family claimed that they were not even allowed to enter Saifee.

“My father was unconscious inside the cabin. I was allowed to speak on the phone with the doctor on call. She told me that all her fans were connected. He said that as his respiratory rate decreased, he would need life support immediately and suggested that we try a bed at Bombay Hospital, said the son.

He then decided to go to the Masina Hospital, where he said that they were not allowed to pass the security booth. We finally went to Bombay Hospital, where the emergency department guard came out and told us there were no doctors, the son said.

A hospital spokesman said they should have seen the victim 24 hours a day. “Bombay Hospital is managing a Covid ward. How can there be no doctors? said the spokesman.

A spokesperson for Saifee Hospital said they would review the records and return.

The patient was eventually taken to St George's Hospital, where a bed was made available. My father received oxygen immediately, but a staff member told us they could run out of oxygen, Shahbaz said.

His father was pronounced dead around 2.30 in the morning, just as the family sat down to eat.

We have not yet received your Covid-19 report. We don't know if it was infected, but we have quarantined ourselves, he said.