Amid shutdown, kidney patients struggle to reach hospitals for dialysisUpdated: Mar 23, 2020 23:20 IST
With Maharashtra placed under lockdown till March 31 to halt the spread of Sars-CoV-2, hundreds of dialysis patients are struggling to appear for their appointments due to the unavailability of transport.
On Monday, Kandivli resident Sejal Jobanputra had to wait an hour and a half to get an auto to reach her dialysis centre, around 1.5km away from her home. The 40-year-old left home at 6am to make in time for her 6.30-am appointment. However, she didn’t find any autos to ferry her to the centre. She finally sought help from her neighbours but due to the fear of Covid-19, she alleged they refused to come to her aid.
“Since I can’t even walk for 500m due to my health, it was impossible for me to walk 1.5km. As a result, I had to reschedule the dialysis and went in the evening with a relative’s help. While returning, however, I couldn’t find any online car service or auto,” she said.
Mumbai has more than 1,000 kidney failure patients who need dialysis regularly. “Dialysis helps to regulate blood pressure and control the chemical flow in the body including sodium and potassium. Without it, salts and toxins will get accumulated in the blood which will poison the body and could even lead to permanent damage and death,” said Dr Geeta Sheth from Sir J J Group of Hospitals. Typically, a patient needs to go for dialysis twice to thrice a week. Jobanputra’s case is not an isolated one. Another 41-year-old resident of Dahisar was stopped by the police on his way to the dialysis centre in Borivli.
“Since there is no direct bus from my home, I hailed an auto with my mother. Along the way, some police personnel asked my auto driver to stop and started threatening him,” said the man.
He alleged the police refused to take cognisance of his dialysis card. An argument ensued after which they were allowed to continue their journey. “They [police] asked us to take the bus, but it I can’t climb on,” he said.