As India’s healthcare system teeters on the brink of collapse during a second fierce wave of the emerging coronavirus pandemic, Rohan Agrawal, 26, plays the role of the doctor who decides who lives and who dies.
India has set a world record with daily injuries exceeding 300,000 cases during the last two weeks, and experts confirm that these numbers are conservative.
At Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi, Agrawal, who will not complete his medical training before next year, works 27 straight hours and has to decide who lives and who dies when sick people breathe for air and their relatives beg him for mercy.
In the hospital, everyone, including patients, relatives and workers, realizes that there are not enough beds, oxygen, or respirators to keep everyone who reaches the hospital’s external gates alive.
The decision-making process, he said, appears simple. “If the patient is overheated and I know that he is sick but he does not need oxygen, I cannot get it in,” he said.
“This is the norm. People are dying in the streets without oxygen,” he adds.
He goes on to describe the decision-making process, saying, “Another option is to have an old man and a young man. The two need oxygen and I have one bed in intensive care. I cannot allow emotions to move me because that is the father of anyone. The young man must be saved.”
In the Indian capital, the number of vacant intensive care beds at any time is less than 20 out of more than 5,000 beds, and patients move from one hospital to another, some of them die in the street and others die in their homes, while oxygen trucks move under armed guard in light Stocks are extremely low, and incinerators are in operation around the clock.
During his long night shift, recorded by Reuters, Agrawal says he fears what will happen to him if he becomes infected, realizing that the hospital will not find a bed for him.
During a short break, he says about the hospital, while eating a biryani meal he bought in a box: I just want an hour’s rest outside the hospital so that I can get myself together because I have to work there another 24 hours. “
Agrawal did not receive the vaccination, he was ill in January when the vaccine was made available to medical workers, and then began to relax in February. “We all wrongly assumed the virus had disappeared,” Agrawal says.