Helpless bystanders witnessed a heartbreaking scene in India as a woman desperately tried to save her COVID-19 infected husband’s life.
Renu Singhal, 45, a resident of Awas Vikas Sector 7 in Agra of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, desperately gave her husband Ravi Singhal, 47, CPR in an auto-rickshaw just metres from a packed medical centre
As Renu knew her husband could die any moment and, with no oxygen cylinder available, she took it upon herself to try and save her husband’s life.
The rickshaw was parked outside a government health facility that Renu had hoped would have oxygen when Ravi’s condition rapidly deteriorated.
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Upon seeing this Renu screamed for help but with the nearby facility already overflowing with COVID-19 patients it turned out to be a futile exercise, leaving her with no option but to try mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
“I looked for help but there was no one around who could have wheeled in my husband as he was unable to move,” Renu said.
The grief-stricken Renu tried everything possible to keep her husband alive. At one moment she would give her CPR before clutching a bottle and sprinkling water over Ravi, pleading with him to hold on.
“I’ve no one else Ravi, please do not leave me alone,” a panicked Renu told her husband who was gasping for breath.
Renu’s desperate attempts went in vain as Ravi passed away in her arms. Later, Renu also got confirmation from Sarojini Naidu Medical College (SNMC) where doctors pronounced Ravi as dead.
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Renu was distraught and held her husband in her lap while hoping against hope that Ravi would open his eyes, but her efforts couldn’t revive him.
“My husband was in home isolation and was suffering from high-grade fever and he complained of breathing problems. I walked out of the home to get him treated in the hospital. I tried helpline numbers but unfortunately, they failed to respond and I took help from an auto-rickshaw driver to take him to different hospitals in the city,” Renu said.
Before turning to the last resort, Renu single-handedly took her husband to at least four different hospitals. And on reaching SN Medical College, she found the hospital was already at capacity, which forced Renu to breathe into the mouth of her unconscious husband.
“However, I was told bring an oxygen cylinder and he would be admitted as visibly they had no oxygen left,” Renu said.
Despite failing to revive her husband, Renu has set an example of courage in unprecedented times.
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Across India, the refusal from hospitals to admit patients has witnessed a surge due to the unavailability of beds. Subsequently, it has forced people to take desperate measures, with many putting out pleas on social media for help.
Crematoriums across the country have also been overwhelmed by the new wave of illness, with facilities forced to spill out into parking lots in order to keep up with the growing number of coronavirus victims.
Haunting photographs have captured families carrying the bodies of their loved ones through the mass cremation sites, with pyres burning around them.
Over past three days, India has reported more than a million COVID-19 infections, which have subsequently overburdened its underdeveloped healthcare institutions.
The second wave of infections has seen most hospitals have run out of oxygen, leading to the deaths of thousands of patients.
On Thursday, India’s daily numbers of COVID-19 cases reached a grim new record, with 379,257 fresh infections and 3645 deaths.
The total number infections across the country has topped 18 million, with more than 204,000 deaths since the pandemic began. However, there are concerns the true figured could be much higher that what is being reported.
The World Health Organisation has announced India is dealing with a “double mutant” strain of the virus called B. 1.617.
WHO recently listed the B. 1.617 mutation as a “variant of interest” but stopped short of declaring it a “variant of concern”, which would label it as more transmissible or deadly than the original.
There is also concern this variant may be combining with other easily spread variants, which could be playing a roll in the record number of cases across India.
“Indeed, studies have highlighted that the spread of the second wave has been much faster than the first,” the WHO said.