Dr. G. N. Saibaba tested Covid positive: Family demands monitoring and shifting to a private hospital

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Unedited Press release issued by Vasantha & Family of Dr. G.N. Saibaba on 13.02.2021

“Today morning at 10.30 am, we received a call from Dr G. N. Saibaba, 90% physically challenged wheelchair-bound Delhi University professor, that he had tested Covid positive. Three days before, Dr. Saibaba had called the family reporting that he was severely ill and showing several Covid-19 symptoms. We promptly requested that a Covid test be immediately performed and yesterday evening, Dr. Saibaba got the results.

This is a serious attack on Dr. Saibaba, who suffers from 19 health ailments and has serious co-morbidities, including heart and kidney issues that can lead to further complications under Covid. Currently, he has a very high fever with low oxygen levels which might drop further if he does not receive treatment or is in stressful environments. His heart condition (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy with left ventricular dysfunction) along with Hypertension can be aggravated due to Covid as it has been reported to cause strain on the heart to pump out more blood, leading to inflammation and blockage. The family was worried about this situation and thus requested for parole in order to remove him from the Prison, which had a severe outbreak last year. All the parole requests were rejected. Currently, he has a severe headache, constant breathlessness, a frequent bout of hiccups, blocked nose and throat with severe joint and muscle pains. On the phone call, he could barely speak to us due to his throat being blocked, and talked to us with great difficulty.

Out of the 25 prisoners tested along with Dr. Saibaba in the jail, 10 tested positive, indicate that an outbreak in Nagpur Central Jail is more than likely. In circumstances like this Dr. Saibaba must immediately be removed from the unhygienic jail premises. Being 90% physically challenged, Dr. Saibaba was assigned two helpers, both of whom tested negative for Covid. Currently, because of this, he has no helpers to take care of daily needs or help him in emergency situations and has been kept in isolation. The family is extremely concerned about this as there is no one to take care of him. Being a patient with active co-morbidities that can be triggered due to Covid, he needs active treatment and care.

The Government Medical College Hospital, Nagpur is not an optimal place to shift him as it is highly infected and overflowing with patients. Recent newspaper reports indicate that there is a shortage of medical kits in the hospital as it is overcrowded. Dr. Saibaba, due to his pre-existing conditions that put him at high Covid risk, has low immunity and is prone to contracting other diseases at GMCH. Most importantly, the hospital does not have a wheel-chair accessible bathroom which has previously caused Dr. Saibaba difficulty.

Based on the above circumstances, the family has requested the authorities to shift him to a good private hospital in Nagpur that has all the necessary medical facilities for proper treatment of a physically challenged patient in the next 24 hours. We have also sent a letter to Honourable CM and  Home Minister of Maharashtra requesting the same. His treatment should be monitored by family members and he should have the facility to talk to his lawyers when needed. He needs urgent care without which his safe recovery would not be possible due to the pre-existing co-morbidities. We demand that the jail authorities should inform the family and keep us updated about the developments in Dr. Saibaba’s condition. The family also demands that Dr. Saibaba should be released by parole considering the circumstances.”

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