Anjali, 26, waited helplessly as her father Suresh Singh Yadav, 52, struggled for breath. Krishna, 18, had gone to buy an oxygen tank and Akash, 24, who drives an Uber taxi was on duty, to support the family. At home, Anjali was left with her mother Kamlesh, and younger siblings. Anjali’s father had lost his job a couple of years back.
Anjali, and her siblings have been taking care of the family.
“My father’s hands had turned cold and he was struggling to breathe. My younger siblings were also panicking. I didn’t know what to do, so I called a World Vision India staff and she sent me numbers I could call for help including doctors and that was really helpful,” said Anjali.
Krishna left home to buy an oxygen tank for his father at 10 am and returned 14 hours later. He stood in the queue for 12 hours at an oxygen agency only to be turned away as the supply ran out. He managed to finally get 5 litres of oxygen for Rs.10,000 from a relative. Availability of oxygen tanks is a matter of life and death in Delhi where the second wave has hit hard. Krishna stood in the line with hundreds of others fighting to get oxygen tanks for their loved ones. He was worried about contracting COVID-19 but at the same time determined to get it for his father.
“We had to keep oxygen by all means. My father could get serious anytime and we needed a backup,” said Krishna. He has completed General Duty Assistant (GDA) through the support of World Vision India and is now working in a private hospital.
Anjali’s first thought was to take his father to the local dispensary but it was closed as most staff had contracted COVID-19. When her father’s oxygen saturation level dropped to 76, they took him to a hospital but the hospitals refused to take him in citing oxygen shortage. They gave him an injection and told them to take him elsewhere. The shortage of oxygen ventilators across India has led to thousands of deaths during the second wave of Covid-19. In Delhi, it was almost impossible to get hospital beds without any references or connections.
“We brought him home and under the doctor’s guidance, we took care of him and he is much better now. His oxygen saturation is at 96,” said Anjali.
Suresh Yadav Singh was kept isolated in a room. This is a luxury only a few can afford in many parts of Delhi where the entire family shares one room. In Anjali’s locality in North West Delhi, more than 60 people have died in the second wave of COVID-19, at an average of 6-7 deaths per day recently.
“People here don’t start treatment until they are very serious, by which time their health had become critical,” said Anjali. She bought an oximeter and a thermometer and monitored her father’s health.
Anjali and her brother’s quick thinking and all-out efforts to get oxygen and necessary help might have saved their father’s life.
(Anjali is a World Vision India’s volunteer. Her younger brother Aman, 14, is a child with disability and is a World Vision India sponsored child.)