Bihar Hospital Overflows With Heatwave-Hit, Doctor Says “Situation Pitiful”

Heatwave in Bihar
Heatwave in Bihar

In the past five days, 50 people have died in a hospital in Bhojpur, Bihar. Even stretchers are being used to lay out patients.

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A hospital in Bhojpur, Bihar, is revealing the human tragedy of a heatwave that is sweeping many states in the country, resulting in 25 deaths in one day, wailing relatives and overcrowded wards with patients lying on stretchers on the floor.

Adding a doctor who complains of a lack of staff and a lack of management support, his assessment of the situation – which he calls “pitiful” – becomes more painfully accurate. 

A heatwave in Bihar’s Bhojpur district has led to 50 deaths at Ara Sadar Hospital in the past five days. Due to the searing heat, many more people are being brought into the hospital, straining its resources.

In a video from the hospital, a relative desperately rubs the feet of an unconscious patient lying on a stretcher in a crowded area. Another video shows four staffers carrying a man into the hospital – not on a stretcher, but by holding his limbs, his body hanging between them limply.

A woman is seen passing out from grief while another woman, holding an infant, cries and tries to console her. The relatives of patients can also be seen crowding around a doctor in other parts of the hospital, desperately seeking updates.

Dr Ashutosh, a doctor from the hospital, can be heard pleading for help on a call with someone from the hospital’s administration in one of the videos. Please help arrange for more oxygen cylinders, sir. All the points already have cylinders being used by patients. Nobody is answering the phone. Bahut dayneey sthiti hai sir (the situation is pitiful, sir),” the doctor says in Hindi.

In response to questions after the call, Dr Ashutosh said, “It’s fine. Arrangements are being made.”

Approximately 25 patients have died today due to heatstroke, according to another doctor, Dr. Rishi. Most of the deaths were related to elderly people with high-grade fevers and symptoms of heatstroke.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted severe to very severe heatwave conditions in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Vidarbha, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, among others.

Mansukh Mandaviya, the health minister, chaired a high-level meeting today to assess the country’s preparedness. He said a five-member team from the Health Ministry and IMD will visit states most affected by the heatwave.

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