On the evening of 19 April, hours before India’s national capital went under a complete lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, relatives of 23-year-old Nidhi Kumari were struggling to find her a hospital with a vacant bed and ventilator. Nidhi, who was 25 weeks pregnant, had an oxygen saturation, or SpO2, level at a dangerously low 60.
At the time, she was in a state-run hospital which did not have a vacant bed with a ventilator. So her relatives and some volunteers engaged in a desperate search to find her a ventilator bed in any hospital that would be willing to admit her.
“On 18 April, as her SpO2 levels started to dip, doctors at the LNJP Hospital told us to find her a ventilator bed as they didn’t have one. We tried many hospitals, even got a letter from an Aam Aadmi Party [the ruling party in Delhi] MLA endorsing our request, but eventually did not find a ventilator bed despite repeated efforts on 18 and 19 April,” said Raja Ravi Gautam,