Viral outbreak kills 60 in UP's Firozabad, hospitals flooded with kids | Ground Report

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The viral outbreak in western Uttar Pradesh's Firozabad district continues. As per the official numbers, so far 60 people have lost their lives. The chief medical officer of Firozabad district, doctor Dinesh Kumar, said as many as 60 people have died, out of which five died due to dengue, whereas the rest died of viral fever and a death audit is underway.

As of September 15, as many as 458 patients were admitted to the government hospital, whereas 207 new patients were admitted in the last 24 hours and 163 of them were infected with dengue.

The situation is so scary that private hospitals are flooded with patients and there are no empty beds left for any more patients, forcing people to take their loved ones to the adjacent city of Agra for treatment. India Today journalist Ashutosh Mishra visited one of the biggest private health care facilities in Unity Hospital, Firozabad. The hospital has no beds available to admit new patients and attendants, in a huge number, can be seen outside the hospital with emotions and commotions.


We met Kishore, who is now carrying his younger brother to Agra as his platelet count has dropped drastically and he has been referred by Unity Hospital to Agra for treatment. Kishor said, "My brother was ill with fever and his platelet count dropped, there is no one in the dormant hospital to listen and a private hospital has referred him to Agra for treatment."

Kishor is not alone. We met Ram Kishor Verma outside the Unity Hospital whose grandson is admitted to the general ward and is being treated for viral fever. Ram Kishor said, "My grandson had a fever on Friday night and we took him to local doctors. Since his platelet count dropped to 20000, we took him to a private hospital."

Ram Kishor Verma also revealed how his son and his grandson's father ran from pillar to post to arrange platelets after donating his own blood.

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Another attendant, Pintu Singh, said his nephew was also infected and had to be brought to a private hospital after being denied a bed in the government medical college. Pintu Singh told India Today, "My nephew is 3 years old and his platelet count dropped and he was dengue positive, hence we had to bring him here. We did go to medical college but we were denied a bed."

Several other locals narrated their pain and the difficulty in arranging basic health facilities during this crisis. Locals also raised questions on the claims being made by the UP government and local administration, saying neither sanitisation is happening in their villages nor the distribution of medicines or any health camps.

The administrator of the Unity Hospital, Vikas Jain, said his hospital is now fully occupied and there is no vacant bed left for any more patients. This situation has deteriorated in the last few days and when there is a severe case of a drop in platelet count, patients are referred to Agra.

We also visited the general ward of Unity Hospital where the situation was really serious. All the beds were occupied by small children due to high fever or dengue.

Parents with high hope are concerned about the safety of their kids and are praying to their deities. Roli Gupta said his son had been ill for the last five days after the platelet count dropped, but now he is recovering and she is thankful to doctors who became God for her son.

A doctor on duty in the ward, Dr Avinash said the situation has turned vulnerable in the last few days and most of them are patients of dengue. Dr Avinash said his two patients have died so far due to the surge in the cases and almost 10% of them are being referred to since they don't have vacant beds. Dr Avinash said that out of all the cases, 80% are of dengue. And now it is becoming increasingly difficult to arrange platelets.

The private hospitals flooded with patients have now made makeshift arrangements making sitting tables as beds to ensure maximum children get treatment in the hospital. If no bed is available, benches have been turned into beds inside the ward to admit patients.

This visit to one of the biggest private hospitals in Firozabad is to bring the reality and the scale of the furious situation in the district. Let's take you to Firozabad Medical College, which has been the epicenter of this crisis, and several videos surfaced from this health care center.

Outside the hospital, we met the family of Taufik who was admitted to this government hospital due to viral fever. Toufik's father told India Today journalist Ashutosh Mishra that his son is now being referred to Agra for treatment. We interviewed and met the officials in the hospital.

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Authorities called his father inside the ward and later they said that his son would not be referred to but would be treated here only. It brought at least a moment of satisfaction when India Today told Taufik's family that they would not need to take their son to Agra for treatment as he would be treated at Firozabad Medical College only.

Despite the crisis in Firozabad, the principal of Medical College, Dr Sangeeta Aneja says the situation deteriorated because of the panic that was spread. She says that this time there has been a panic which has increased our workload.

Dr Sangeeta said, "We have 540 beds and we have to keep 50 to 70 what's vacant for an emergency, but most people come here to admit their patients even when there is no serious case." As per the Medical College principal, 13 patients died here in this hospital, of which eight died due to dengue.

The viral outbreak across the country is usually a phenomenon during this part of the monsoon. However, the situation which erupted from Firozabad and now spread to adjacent districts still remains a mystery.

The UP Government claims that they have made several arrangements to control the situation, including increasing the health care facilities and sanitisation drives. However, the people from the region say the contrary.

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