India Covid-19 appeal: 10 hospitals to find dad a bed – then no oxygen

The Herald has joined forces with World Vision to support India in its fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. We’re bringing you stories from the front line and the opportunity to help – every story has a click-through button so you can donate direct to World Vision and help provide desperately needed supplies of oxygen, beds, medical supplies and food.

World Vision India’s Luke Aslaksan talked to a family still reeling from the loss of their beloved husband and father.

The smell of incense fills the tiny home of nine-year-old Ashmitha, who lives in the slums in Covid-devastated Bangalore. Ashmitha’s 40-year-old father Murugan used to work as a labourer in an incense factory, and when he returned home at the end of the day, the fragrant aroma on his skin would make her feel safe and happy. Last week Murugan died after contracting Covid-19, and now the lingering smell brings Ashmitha only pain and grief.

“He started to cough severely and had a fever and was tired often,” explains Murugan’s 38-year-old widow Amudhavalli. She and some other relatives took him to hospital, where they discovered that one of his lungs was infected and his oxygen level and pulse had started to fall drastically.

Families devastated by COVID-19 need you. Please click here to donate now at worldvision.org.nz and save lives

“The doctors told us to take him to another hospital immediately, as they were running short of oxygen,” says Amudhavalli. Most of the hospitals were already full with Covid-19 patients and new admissions could only be taken if somebody either died or got discharged. They took Murugan to 10 hospitals that day and were unable to find a single bed. Finally, they found a bed in a public hospital in the city.

Not long after he was admitted, the hospital Murugan was being treated at also ran out of oxygen. Without it, he had no chance of surviving, and two days later, Murugan died. Devastated by his death, Murugan’s family’s grief was compounded when they were told that, as per Government protocols for Covid-19 deaths, his body would be cremated immediately at the hospital. Amudhavalli and her four children, including Ashmitha, were not allowed to say a final goodbye to their beloved husband and father.

Murugan was the family’s main breadwinner. Without him, his family is in dire need of support to survive. World Vision is providing Murugan’s family with food and other essential items, but as the pandemic rages on there are now hundreds of thousands of children like Ashmitha whose lives have become a question of survival.

Ashmitha is struggling to begin to imagine life without her father. “I used to eagerly wait for it to be evening, so that I could go out for a walk with my father when he came home from work. He would also buy me snacks and toys some days.”

Ashmitha remembers his last words to her, “He told me: Ashmitha, don’t go anywhere out of the house. You should be careful and stay inside the house these days.”

Now she wants to be a doctor so that she can save the lives of people like her father.

Families devastated by COVID-19 need you. Please click here to donate now at worldvision.org.nz and save lives

Where your money goes

Your support will help save lives by providing protection, prevention, and urgent life-saving healthcare.

· Oxygen
· Hospital beds
· Medical supplies
· Other desperately needed essentials

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