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Konjengbam Mona Devi who is a junior doctor herself tried to save her mother from COVID faced with a negligent hospital staff

A Daughter Who Single-handedly Tried to Save Her Mother From COVID inside Hospital is Now Struggling to Survive the Same Disease

Konjengbam Mona Devi from Moirang Konjengbam Leikai, a medical intern student in China’s Zhengzhou University, the only child of her parents desperately tried single-handedly to save her mother who was being treated for COVID-19 in the ICU of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), but all to no avail. There was no one in the ICU to help her save her mother. She ran to the doctors and nurses of the hospital and begged them to save her mother. But they didn’t respond positively in time. When the hospital doctor and staff came, it was too late. Her mother died due to lack of oxygen.

The deceased patient is a Public Health Supervisor of Churachandpur District Hospital. She was 58 years old. Her name was Tongbram Shanti Devi. She tested COVID-19 positive on October 2 and reached Bishnupur District Hospital at around 2:30pm.

During better days, Mona as a medical student

Mona’s father Konjengbam Birendra Singh, 59, who runs a shop but has been disabled since October 4 after a haemorrhagic stroke.

When Imphal Review talked via Messenger to the unlucky daughter who herself is now undergoing medical treatment at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), she expressed, “No one wants their parents to suffer at all. But what I experienced was worse than my most horrific nightmares. My mother had been in the hospital for some time and we all were having a tough time coping with the challenges and difficulties in this pandemic. We were all doing our best to make sure that she got proper medical treatment and hospital care but one night everything went tumbling down. That night, my mother’s oxygen got over and I called the staff members of the hospital frantically but they told me to wait. I waited for more than two hours. My mother’s oxygen was running out and I had never felt that helplessness in my life, ever. I ran from the ICU to the second floor of the hospital where the staff members stay and kept begging them to provide my mother with oxygen that was essential for her. I was hapless. I couldn’t do anything except telling my mother that she will be fine and that they will come to give her oxygen very soon. When her breathing became slower I called the staff members to send a doctor to give her Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). But nobody came for around two hours. During those two hours I gave her CPR myself. I was holding her hand to give her warmth. At last staff and a doctor came but it was too late.”

Mona’s mother, health worker, Tongbram Shanti Devi

The single daughter shared the ordeal in the ICU on December 5 with Imphal Review. Since her mother resisted the ventilation they sedated her and intubated. Since then she was in coma and even after intubation her body was still burning hot. “I asked the doctor to inject her paracetamol. She said she will tell the nurse. After 1 or 2 hours I asked the nurses, they told me that the doctor didn’t tell them to do. And instead they asked me to wipe my mother’s body with towel and warm water. I did it but how could it help! When her breathing became slow I called the staff. It was around 12.30am. But they told me that they just sat down to have their dinner. So, they didn’t come. I gave her CPR by myself. I did her suction,” the daughter added shockingly.

Her struggle started from the night before. Her body was burning hot with fever. “I asked the doctor if they should give her some medication or injection for it. He told me if I have paracetamol from home I can give it. I gave her but it didn’t help. When she became very weak I asked the doctor if Dexona injection should be given; they told me no need for it.

The night before she started to struggle and tried to take out her oxygen mask. She told me it’s getting very hard to breathe with the oxygen mask. I called the doctors and staff but none came the whole night. During this time I was trying to tie her up myself but she was too strong for me. In the morning one doctor came and scolded me for not tying her up. Then he took her for ventilation.

And her Ryles tube was not fixed properly, so food couldn’t go inside. On December 5 she was without food the whole day. Just with I.V. I tried together with the doctors to fix her Ryles tube, I noticed they put the Ryles tube too deep so it got coiled up in her stomach. Usually it should be put till around 15 cm. My mistake was I didn’t say anything to them about it. Then finally when I saw her becoming weak, I fixed the Ryles tube myself, and finally food could go inside and I gave her ORS and some water. But it was too late.

It was around 3.00am of December 6 when the doctor and nurses came into the ICU since I begged them to come around the past midnight. At around 3:32am she breathed her last. Then I was alone to attend and the doctor told me to tie her up. I couldn’t do it alone. The doctor told me to call my uncle who was outside the building to help me. So I called my uncle, and he came up for a while. Then he left after a while because it was not safe for him, she added.

When Imphal Review asked her if they were monitoring the patient regularly she told, “They didn’t check even her temperature. They told me to check if I brought thermometer from home. I had to ask from home to bring it and I checked my mother’s body temperature myself. The night before her temperature was 39 C and it kept on increasing. I still remember.

We came on October 2, they measured her blood pressure. But after that they didn’t check blood pressure, temperature the whole time. Then they measured in her last moment and the nurse gave her Dexona injection when her ECG was already flat. It was too late.

And the system was very awful. No proper medication was given from day one. They gave Favipiravir, zinc tablets, vitamin c tablets and azithromycin. The doses they gave, they don’t even know. Sometimes they give favipiravir once a day, sometimes twice; not even paracetamol was given but I brought from home, she affirmed.

First when we admitted her at JNIMS the doctor told me she was fine, we can shift to general ward the next day. They neglected her because they thought she was fine on look.

Second, her x-ray came and found her lung was 60 percent infected. Then they said it was serious. But they neglected saying there’s no medication for COVID-19 and they cannot do anything except providing the machines.

I asked them to give something to ease her pain. My mother told them wherever it was hurting for her. They just listened and did nothing.

One of the doctors said they will take urine test but didn’t take.

Mona during her internship at Zhengzhou University, China

My mom and I faced very big problems with the oxygen. Whenever her oxygen cylinder got over, getting a new oxygen cylinder was a difficult task. The hospital people asked me to carry the big cylinder from 2nd floor to the ICU. They don’t have enough staff to deliver the oxygen and fix it. I even waited for 3 hours to get new oxygen cylinder and meanwhile my mom was struggling and oxygen kept on declining.

Every day, I saw more than three people passing away. But only few are reported in the news, she continued.

She wanted to highlight how the management of JNIMS hospital Covid Care is really low. She said there is 1) lack of hospital staff; 2) unhygienic condition of the Covid ICU Ward; 3) Very low quality treatment of the patients. Patients in the ICU ward are treated as if they survive or not it’s not in their hands and they can’t do anything except providing the hospital machines and some vitamin tablets; 4) Lack of proper medication from day one till the last moment. 5) When my mom’s oxygen and pulses dropped, I called the doctors to please come and give her CPR or any medication, but they took more than 3 hours, she alleged.

Further she said, I cleaned the blood stained floor myself. And there was no cleaner at all. So the family members have to clean everything by themselves. As a family member I was to attend my mother in the ICU. I was surprised to see two or three members attending their ailing COVID-19 patient.

Other departments and Wards of JNIMS might be functioning very well but Covid ICU Ward is not maintained properly. I won’t blame hundred percent on doctors.

She said that she is sharing her experiences of struggling with her mother in the ICU neither to defame JNIMS nor compare with other hospitals but to improve the system and management of the JNIMS. Besides sharing only to make my mother’s demise a voice to everyone as awareness about how deadly COVID-19 is. I don’t want others to meet my mom’s fate.

The deceased COVID-19 patient was none other than a Public Health Supervisor of Churachandpur District Hospital. She was 58 years old. Her name was Tongbram Shanti Devi. She tested COVID-19 positive on October 2 and reached Bishnupur District Hospital at around 2:30pm. The Bishnupur District Hospital doctors said she needs to get transferred to either RIMS or JNIMS where there are beds available. After a while they said beds are available at JNIMS but we had to wait till 7 at night for the ambulance.

She complained further, “After my mom got transferred to JNIMS, nobody was there to pick the patient up. The door was locked; we gave several calls to the JNIMS hospital officials. Nobody came down; we waited for more than 2 hours inside the ambulance. My mom was suffering inside. At last I had to go inside the hospital and personally asked the doctors to come down. Finally she came down and asked me to personally put my mom on the stretcher and take her inside the ICU ward. I asked the ambulance guys to help me, but nobody wanted to touch. So I had to put her on the stretcher myself and took her inside the ICU. Time was wasted!”

However, the spokesperson of JNIMS clarified on December 11 in the Weekly Press Briefing on COVID-19 Update at the Directorate of Health Services that we are also sad but she came with low level of oxygen as she came far, from Bishnupur district. Immediately after admission our doctors gave non-invasive ventilation (NIV) and kept monitoring. As lung was infected oxygen level kept going down and NIV couldn’t support much, this is what we are experiencing in COIVID-19 treatment. Suitable medications were given and doctors and nurses attended. But it was alleged that 3 hours were waited in the dying phase, the medical superintended added.

Unfortunately, the single daughter’s father Konjengbam Birendra Singh, 59, who runs a shop got haemorrhagic stroke on October 4. And he had been paralyzed, and can’t speak well or move well and is now staying at home. He also tested COVID-19 positive on December 7 but the doctors said his condition is not serious so he can take medication at home and will recover. She said doctors told them he will be fine if he doesn’t show any sign within 10 days.

While she was about to join the funeral of her mother a phone call came telling her that she tested COVID-19 positive. As she was not feeling well while attending her mother in the ICU, COVID-19 test was done on December 4 at JNIMS.

Further, she shared with Imphal Review; I was tested COVID-19 positive the day my mama left this world. I want to share my story about how I lost my mama right in front of me, how she was neglected in JNIMS hospital, how hard she tried her best to live, how much she suffered in pain unattended by the hospital staff, how helpless I was seeing my mama in pain and breathe her last.

Today, by the blessings of my mama, by the cares given to me by the doctors and staffs of RIMS hospital, by all the support from my well-wishers and loved ones, I am feeling very much better. I have chosen to get admitted to RIMS because I want to live for my loved ones. Now, how much I wish my mama was here with me fighting for our lives together. How much I wish she got all the cares which I am getting right now. Mama! My heart is broken into pieces. Mama! I want to make the reason of your untimely demise as voice to other people who are not aware of this situation, and how their lives can be saved. Mama, please give me strength and blessings, she prays.

She continued, I was not ready and am not ready but I had to make choices, I had to face it all by myself. My dear mama, how can I bear to see her in pain? Mama! I want to give you water to drink. Let me make some tea for you. You could have given me some more time to take care of you. Gurura brahma, Gurura vishnu, Gurura deva maheshwara… your ring tone keeps on ringing in my ear. How much I chanted god’s name, how much I prayed to give you back. How much I wanted you to fight back.

Mother is comfort, Mother is warmth, and Mother is home. But I lose everything at once. Mama may you find happiness in heaven.

The single daughter who has been facing all odds having a tough time struggling to survive from COVID-19 at RIMS is Konjengbam Mona Devi from Moirang Konjengbam Leikai in Bishnupur district.  She is a medical student doing her internship at Zhengzhou University in China before returning to Manipur in February without COVID-19 infection from China due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is not receiving information to resume her internship yet.

Now, Mona on RIMS Covid Ward bed hopes and wishes to get well soon to attend her mother’s last rite Shraddha on December 18.

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