Srinagar, Mar 31: The last four days have been the toughest ones for the10 year old boy from Srinagar who was tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.
On March 28, the boy from Eidgah, who, as per his father, had major symptoms of contracting the virus, had to go through a rigmarole of referrals between various Srinagar hospitals in a single day before he was surprisingly sent back home at around midnight.
Like in many other cases, the boy, his father said, too had contact with a person who attended a religious gathering and was later tested positive for the virus.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor over the phone, the boy’s father said on March 23, there was camping in Shaheed-e-Milat Masjid at Eidgah in which one person from Bemina who was part of Tableeghi Jamaat came in contact with his son.
“My son had hugged and shaken hands with this person, who was tested positive recently,” he said.
By the time the family learnt that the person their son had met was tested positive, the boy had already started developing symptoms of the infection.
“He was feverish and complained of sore throat,” the father said.
Panicked, he took him to SMHS hospital here on March 28.
“I told the doctors at SMHS that my son had shaken hands and hugged this man who had been tested positive. I told them about the symptoms as well. They immediately referred him to Chest Diseases Hospital,” he said.
The prescription at SMHS corroborates the father’s version although it records the child had normal body temperature (98.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
The father than took his son to CD hospital, which these day is the tertiary healthcare facility for coronavirus suspects and patients.
However, the hospital could not admit the child as ‘all the beds there were occupied.’
“Due to non-availability of beds, we are referring the patient to JLNM Rainawari,” reads the doctor’s note on the CD hospital prescription.
The doctor at CD hospital advised that the boy be screened for coronavirus.
However, the referral raises a question since JLNM Hospital is not yet equipped to test for COVID-19 and sends its samples to the Chest Diseases instead.
That was one of the reasons why earlier this week, 105 suspected persons quarantined at JLNM were up in arms because the hospital took days to pick samples and send them to other hospitals.
Already distraught, the father then reached JLNM hoping that here he may receive some attention and that his boy be tested and treated.
But he was in for another shocker.
Knowing the case and contact history, the JLNM doctors concluded that the boy had “high possibility” of having contracted Covid-19 infection.
“Case discussed with MS/Principal GMC Srinagar. Patient referred to SKIMS Soura in view of non-availability of beds and testing,” reads the note by the doctor on the prescription at JLNM.
The father’s patience was slowly giving up seeing his son being shuffled from one place to another but he knew these were extraordinary times and he could endure anything to ensure his son received the medical care.
“I was so frustrated of running from one place to another,” he told the Kashmir Monitor.
Eventually, at 10:35 pm in the night, the father-son duo reached SKIMS, Soura, knowing that this was a place which had no option of further referral.
The doctors there did their preliminary diagnosis and found the boy clearly symptomatic.
But surprisingly, they did not admit him and instead asked the father to put him in home quarantine for two weeks.
Just before midnight of March 28, the man reached home with his boy, having been made to run around the largest four hospitals in the city.
“There was sheer negligence from the SKIMS administration while treating my son. We fear that our entire family might have been infected because we were living together with my son. My daughter has also shown symptoms. She has developed fever,” he said.
The worst, though, was yet to come.
“On March 30, police came to our house and took my son to SKIMS, Soura where his samples were collected which came positive on Tuesday.”
“I was also with my son and later I directed all my family members to visit the hospital for check-up. All of us are at high risk of getting infected,” he said.
At the time this report was being compiled, the father was caught up in hospital admission formalities for the rest of his family.
Asked why they had sent the boy back on March 28, MS SKIMS Farooq Jan said the patient was “asymptomatic.”
“He had developed no symptoms when he came to hospital which is why we advised him to go for proper quarantine at home,” Dr Jan said.
(An earlier version of this story carried the photos of the prescriptions while ensuring that the details of the patient were kept hidden. Now, the photos have been removed entirely at the family’s request)