Gulshan Khatun is anxiously waiting for November when her partially paralysed son is expected to get chemotherapy treatment at AIIMS. She, however, is not sure if her now comatose 17-year-old son will make it to November.
Gulshan had brought her son Sayed, who has brain tumour, to AIIMS in March. Doctors performed an emergency surgery to stunt the growth of the tumour and advised chemotherapy. But all that Gulshan can do now is to wait for her turn.
“We were given November 5 as the date for chemotherapy. It may be too late by then. His condition is deteriorating rapidly. He could move and speak when me came here, now he is almost comatose,” says Imran, Sayed’s elder brother.
“We are not sure if he will live till then,” he said.
Gulshan, a resident of Gorakhpur, is now living on the pavement outside AIIMS. They spend their day in the waiting hall but are driven out in the evening. Gulshan and Imran have to carry Sayed in a bedsheet as they run around for space since there are many like them who are in the queue.
Since the hospital dharamshala has limited occupancy, hundreds of patients and their attendants take refuge on the pavement, near the AIIMS Metro station and in the temporary shelters that some people have erected illegally.
Patna-resident Pinku Devi came to Delhi a year ago with kidney disease. “When we first came here, we went to the OPD half an hour before the scheduled time at 9am. When we reached the hospital, the queue had already reached the main gate,” said Pinku Devi.
Once she got her appointment, it took six months for her dialysis to start. “Since mummy’s condition was worsening by the day, we decided to get her dialysis started at a hospital in Punjabi Bagh,” her son Hukam Singh said. Now, sometimes she does get an appointment but that is not regular. Devi is staying with her cousin in Jahangirpuri in northwest Delhi. Doctors have advised a kidney transplant but Devi is not very hopeful of getting a donor.
Read: With over 10,000 OPD patients, many die waiting at crowded AIIMS