The hospital informed cops and shared the woman's Aadhaar number with them.(Representational)
A 61-year old woman, who had tested positive for COVID-19 at a private lab in Kolkata, ran away from the state-run NRS Medical College and Hospital when she was told she must get admitted immediately.
This came on a day the West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, appealed to people not to hide information if they test positive for the virus. "It is not a crime. There is no need to fear it. Those who are scared or hid the information, suffered the most," she said. It is not clear if she was aware of the NRS Hospital case.
A resident of the Entally area in the city, the woman had walked into NRS Hospital alone, shown doctors her lab report and asked if she was indeed COVID-19 positive.
The doctors took a look at the report and recommended immediate admission. Asking her to sit and wait, the hospital staff went to arrange for an ambulance to transfer her to another building in the hospital complex.
But, the woman did not wait around. She fled at the first opportunity, determined not to get admitted in the hospital. When the ambulance arrived, the staff went to fetch her, but she was gone.
The hospital informed the police and shared with them the woman's Aadhaar card number so they could track her down. Till last reports, the patient had not been tracked down.
Meanwhile, not only did the chief minister appeal to people to not hide corona, she also very candidly spoke of the consequences for one of her own MLA, Tamonash Ghosh.
"Charity begins at home. My own MLA, if he had got admitted to hospital earlier than he did...." she said, adding, "I don't know if he will survive."
The MLA lives four or five houses away from the chief minister.
"His two daughters, his wife, his friend, his staff, the staff's family, the staff's domestic help, all got the virus but they are all fine. But, Tamonash is not. He probably has an asthma problem and a diabetes problem. He is suffering. The hospital is trying its best," she said.
Citing the example of minister Sujit Bose and chief whip Nirmal Ghosh, whose son and father have contracted the virus, Ms Banerjee said, "As soon as you are feeling unwell, go to a hospital. The Covid tests can be done in a day or two But get medication for your ailment."
Appealing to private hospitals to give admission to non-COVID patients, the Bengal chief minister said, "Please, admit non-COVID patients or at least get your priorities right. If a patient comes with a cardiac arrest, treat that. Test for COVID later," she added.
The state chief secretary, Rajiv Sinha, will be meeting with private hospitals today to take up these issues. They will also discuss implementation of the chief minister's order that hospitals must publicly display the status of bed availability on an hourly basis. The data will be put online so that patients who test positive for COVID-19 don't face harassment while finding a bed and seeking admission.