Doctors at the hospital said family members talk daily to the recovering patients by making voice or video calls, but as soon as they are informed that the patient is ready for discharge, some of them stop calling.
A 58-year-old woman from Khairatabad in Hyderabad, who had tested positive for Covid-19 on June 14, was discharged from Gandhi Hospital on Tuesday after recovery. She waited for four hours, but her family members did not turn up to take her home. Eventually, hospital authorities readmitted her and put her into an isolation ward.
“When I called the family members, one person raised doubts whether she is really cured. When I informed that she had tested negative, he said she may not have fully recovered and disconnected the phone. They have not answered calls since then. We have re-admitted her,’’ said Dr Prabhakar Reddy, nodal officer for Covid-19 at Gandhi Hospital.
The woman, Dr Reddy said, is not the only such case.
“There are 35 such patients at Gandhi Hospital. When a person recovers and is ready for discharge, we inform the family. In some instances, the family members say there are small children at home who will be at risk, so they cannot allow the person to return home. They ask us to keep them at the hospital for a few more days. The most common excuse is not wanting to put small children at home at risk. Some people say their flat or house is too small with a single bathroom and they cannot keep the recovered person in isolation for a few days as advised,’’ Dr Reddy said.
Doctors at the hospital said family members talk daily to the recovering patients by making voice or video calls, but as soon as they are informed that the patient is ready for discharge, some of them stop calling. “A few family members said their neighbours were against bringing the person home from hospital. Even if they have fully recovered and test negative, there is a stigma attached to Covid-19 patients and they are not easily welcomed home. Some of them cry at night,’’ a doctor said.
A 55-year-old man from Medchal recovered and tested negative on June 30, but is still in the hospital. “When my son and daughter did not come to pick me up, I felt abandoned. They simply stopped communicating. I understand their concerns: we live in a small house, in a narrow street. My grandson is just 2 years old. The neighbours must be feeling unsafe too. But they should not have stopped talking to me,’’ said the man.
Officials said many of these patients, who need family support in the crucial time after their recovery, feel abandoned and some show signs of depression. “As Gandhi Hospital is an exclusive Covid treatment facility, we have referred a few such persons to stay at isolation wards at Nature Cure Hospital or Ayurvedic Hospital, till their families are ready to take them home. This is also to instil confidence in them that they have fully recovered and are medically fit,” said hospital superintendent Dr Raja Rao.
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