‘Couldn’t even hug my son’: A quarantined man’s pain of losing his child
Manish Kumar Tyagi, who was in quarantine, could only see his child from a distance.
Manish Kumar Tyagi, a ward boy at a government hospital treating Covid-19 patients in Lucknow, is still coming to terms with the harsh reality that he couldn’t even hug his three-year-old son, his only child, before he was lowered into his final resting place this week.
After 14 days of work, Manish, like the rest of the staff at Lucknow’s Lokbandhu Hospital, where coronavirus patients are being treated, was quarantined in a nearby hotel. This is a mandatory drill for all hospital staff treating Covid-19 patients.
“It was around 9 pm that my wife called up to say that our son was sick. He was vomiting and apparently down with some gastric infection. I could do little, but the family with the help of a neighbour, who drives a taxi, took the child to the nearest hospital in Chinhat. The hospital refused to admit my child after which the family was informed about another hospital in Alambagh. That hospital too refused to admit my son,” says Manish.
“My wife then rushed him to King George’s Medical University (KGMU). By this time, I had called up my seniors in the hospital, who had dialled KGMU where the doctors immediately attended to him but a lot of time had been lost by then,” he recalls.
He said his son tested negative for coronavirus. He suspects that it was the fear of infection because of which the private hospitals refused to attend to his child.
“How can one deny treatment to a child in an emergency?” he asks.
“Main ladke ko galey bhi nahi laga paya (I couldn’t even embrace my dear son as I was quarantined). With special permission, I did go to KGMU in an ambulance after wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) kit. Yet, I didn’t go near my family or for that near anyone. I could only watch my son from a distance as he left us,” he says.
In the morning, the child was buried in the family’s village on the outskirts of Lucknow.
“I am still unable to get over the fact that he might have been alive if the private hospitals had attended to him,” he said.
Manish’s quarantine has ended but he hasn’t resumed his duties while his wife is still inconsolable.
“My wife continues to sob uncontrollably. I put duty over my family responsibilities first. I had lost my father sometime back and now this. Don’t know how life will shape up now,” he said.
The hospital authorities say they are in regular touch with the ward boy who was employed on a contractual basis four years back. He had been on Covid duty since February.
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