Delhi heatwave adds to woes of patients at AIIMS

- May 30, 2024
| By : Saurav Gupta |

With no beds available inside, patients and their relatives are forced to live on the streets outside the hospital under extreme weather conditions

TO NO END: Geeta, a 30-year-old patient with an Aadhaar card, has been sitting outside AIIMS for the last eight months

Delhi heatwave is adding to the woes of patients and their relatives who have travelled from various parts of the country for treatment at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). 

With no beds available inside the hospital, these individuals are forced to live on the streets, facing severe weather conditions and a lack of basic amenities.

Rakesh Kumar (53), hailing from Bihar, was lying on the footpath under the bus stand shed along with his wife, Meena Devi, with only a bag containing a toothbrush, soap, towel, and a pair of spare clothes. 

Kumar has been living outside AIIMS hospital’s gate number 6 for the past 10 days, as he came for the treatment of his son, who is suffering from kidney infection. In the scorching heat of the national capital, both senior citizens stand in the facility’s OPD queue from 4 am to get the doctor’s consultation receipt at the hospital.

Speaking to Patriot, Kumar said, “We have been living on the road for the past 10 days. My son is suffering from kidney disease. My wife and I stand in a long queue at the hospital from 4 am until nearly 12 pm to get the slips for doctor’s consultation.

“We have sent our son to a relative’s home in Gurugram. He commutes daily to the hospital at 12 pm to get himself checked by the doctor. After this, he travels back again. However, we stay outside the hospital all day and night. During daytime, when the sun is at its peak, we search for shaded areas like bus stand sheds and tree shadows to get some rest,” Kumar said.

Delhi heatwave adds to woes of patients at AIIMS
IN DESPAIR: Avnish Kumar and wife Ram Lali staying in a tent outside Gate No. 2 of AIIMS

Kusum (20), was seen sitting at the same bus stand with her ill father, who was suffering from a lung disease. Kusum also hails from Bihar and has been sitting outside the hospital for the past 15 days. They are carrying two bags and just a blanket, which they use to sleep on the road.

Kusum said, “We use the hospital toilets, and the facility allows us to fill drinking water from inside. Apart from this, we have to stay on the road to get the treatment done here. There is no availability of beds inside the hospital.

“The hospital also does not allow us to stay inside the premises during daytime when the heat is at its peak in the national capital,” she said.

Patients and their relatives who come to the hospital from across the country have been living on streets outside the hospital premises. They live in pathetic conditions outside the hospital gates, setting up temporary tent-like structures with blankets to escape the heat.

Also read: Delhi almost touches 50 degree C as heatwave intensifies

Geeta (30), another patient with an Aadhaar card, said while crying, “I have been living on the streets outside the hospital for the past eight months. I am suffering from a hand injury. I have no money left and am surviving on the food distributed by people. In this surging heat, I can’t even afford to buy water to quench my thirst.”

Another older couple, Avnish Kumar (59) and Ram Lali (57), were living near hospital gate number 2 in a temporary tent-like structure.

Delhi heatwave adds to woes of patients at AIIMS
MAKESHIFT: Patients and their relatives living in a tent-like structure to beat the heat

Kumar said, “We have been living outside the hospital for the past six months. My wife (Ram Lali) is suffering from cancer and is undergoing treatment at AIIMS. There are no beds in the hospital, so we are residing on the streets. The hospital allows us to get drinking water from inside during this scorching heat.”