A day after a young journalist in Uttar Pradesh died of COVID-19, the coronavirus disease today claimed the life of a 42-year-old reporter in Maharashtra's Pune after a private hospital in Ahmednagar, some 122 km away, allegedly delayed his treatment over advance payment.
The journalist, who was associated with a private news channel in Pune, was in Ahmednagar when he tested positive. His family has alleged that though they took him to a hospital in the city, the private hospital refused him admission till they paid Rs40,000, denying him timely medical attention. He had to wait for medical attention as his condition deteriorated, they said.
He was then rushed to Pune's Jumbo Covid Centre on Tuesday evening, the family said, adding that here too the facilities were lacking. Within hours, in the early hours of Wednesday, the journalist succumbed to coronavirus-related complications, his family said.
Sources, however, add that by the time he reached the Jumbo Covid Centre, he was already beyond the point of resuscitation, but doctors tried their best.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has ordered a probe into the incident and allegation of hospitals denying and delaying treatment to patients.
The state government has been issuing notices to private hospitals and associations of medical healthcare professionals under the provisions of the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA), 2005, to ensure Covid patients get treatment and are not overcharged as case count climbs.
There have been numerous reports of private hospitals denying treatment to coronavirus patients in Maharashtra, which remains the state hit hardest by the pandemic in the country. It has a total of 8,08,306 COVID-19 cases, with 24,903 deaths. Maharashtra reported 15,765 fresh cases in the last 24 hours when the country's caseload crossed the 37-lakh mark with more than 78,000 cases.
The state capital Mumbai recorded 1,142 new cases while Pune city reported 1,738 new cases. Nashik division, which includes Ahmednagar, has reported a total of 1,00,342 cases and 2,343 deaths.
A sharp surge in the number of Coronavirus cases since the beginning of August has shaken India, which has been reported the highest number of new Covid cases in the world since last week.