‘Got ICU beds, had money to treat them, but still couldn’t save my parents’

Covid-19 has torn families apart as a man lost his aged parents, a newly-wed lost his parents and grandmother, two brothers died within hours of each other, while another family lost four of their own within days.

A man lost his aged parents, a newly-wed lost his parents and grandmother, two brothers died within hours of each other, while another family lost four of their own within days. Covid-19 has torn families apart.

Hoshiarpur-based industrialist Rajeev Singla (48) lost both his parents in a span of 10 days. The owner of Singla Steel Industries in Hoshiarpur said, “My mother got sick on April 23 and father three days later. We tried our best, we got all facilities in the best hospitals, we got oxygen, we got ICU beds, we had money to get them treated, but I still could not save them. My mother Kanta Rani (75) died on May 4 and father Tarsem Chand (75), who was discharged from hospital, had to re-admitted, and passed away on May 14.”

Rajeev’s elder brother Sanjeev (54) was also in ICU, but has been discharged and is still on oxygen support at home. “If anyone wants to know how dangerous Covid is, they can come and visit our family,” said an inconsolable Rajiv. “I am not able to concentrate on work, have not been able to visit my factory since April 23. We can earn money some other time, but this is the time to focus on our health. We got all the help from Minister Sunder Sham Arora in getting beds in hospital, in counselling the family, but the killer virus did not spare us. My daughter too tested positive, but she was treated in home isolation.”

Bishan Das (47), a caterer and resident of Ghuman village of Gurdaspur district, got this younger son married off on April 26. A few relatives attended the wedding, including Bishan’s mother-in-law Rano Devi (70). Bishan’s wife Kavita Rani (45) fell sick 2-3 days after the wedding and was taken to an Amritsar hospital. Meanwhile, Bishan and Rano Devi were also kept in Radha Soami Satsang Covid centre nearby, said villagers. “All of them were discharged from hospitals after 4-5 days, but we don’t know what happened to them at home as Kavita died on May 9, followed by Bishan on May 10 and Rano Devi died on May 11. The entire village was shocked. We got to know that they died of Covid only when they were cremated as per protocol, and after that sampling happened in village. Before these three deaths as well, 5-6 more villagers had died in April, but no one knows the cause. But now things are under control,” said a villager who lives close to Bishan’s house.

Ranjodh Singh (26) of Jangirana village in Bathinda district says: “Our family is in deep shock. My grandfather Mohinder Singh (75) and his brother Hari Singh (72) both died on May 4 within a gap of hours.”

Sources said Hari had fever on April 26 and Mohinder went to inquire about his health. Both lived next door to each other. Mohinder also fell sick the next day. “Initially they were diagnosed with dengue due to low platelets and we did not focus on Covid…however, we got tense when their oxygen levels started falling, dipping to 60. They were taken to Bathinda civil hospital but both died on May 4. I wish we had gotten them tested for Covid earlier. I strongly feel that more stress should be laid on making people aware of how to manage patients at home and also correct diagnosis. Our village is now extra cautious and we did not allow anyone to visit us.”

Rinku Thukral, a resident of Civil lines, Fazilka district, says his father Gurcharan Singh Thukral (69) and his paternal uncle Prem Chand Thukral (67) died in a span of 30 minutes on May 4. “We have a big joint family. My father and uncle got sick on April 29 and on April 30. While my father was admitted in a Ganganagar hospital, uncle was admitted in a Bathinda-based private hospital as their oxygen level dipped to 85. After being diagnosed with Typhoid, they tested positive for Covid…” The Thukrals have a medical shop in Fazilka. “Covid has devastated us…we are yet to come to terms with our loss,” said Rinku.

In Ludhiana, a family in the business of bicycle parts manufacturing suffered a double loss. The two brothers running the business lost their wives within a week. Meanwhile, in Upoke village of Amargarh tehsil of newly-formed district Malerkotla, 49-year-old Rupinderjit Kaur died on May 8 while her mother-in-law Baldev Kaur (70) died on May 9.

Takipur is one village of Sangrur which had sent alarm bells for Punjab villages when four members of a family had died of Covid. These included Tarlok Singh (75) who died on May 4, and his daughter died who at her in-laws house in a Mansa village on May 1. She had come to meet her ailing father while Tarlok’s sons Harpal Singh (46) and Jaspal Singh (54) died on May 7 and 8 respectively. Meanwhile, Tarlok had Covid pneumonia but his RT-PCR was negative. Jaspal’s son Aman told The Indian Express: “Four deaths in a week, we know how painful it is to lose our loved ones. Covid is certainly not a joke and we take each and every symptom seriously.”

Dr G P Mangla, in-charge, blood bank, RedCross Bhawan, Ludhiana, died of Covid Thursday at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). He was 65.

Dr Mangla was earlier serving at Ludhiana Civil Hospital and after retirement was working in the blood bank. On May 17, his wife Indu Bala, a retired lecturer, died of brain tumour. Dr Karamvir Goyal, a physician and close friend said, “His family is unable to bear the loss.”

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