MUMBAI: “There is only one message I would like to give senior citizens and those battling coronavirus: With good care and patience, you will fight and come out of it,” said a 70-year-old Andheri resident who was discharged on Tuesday after nearly 14 days of treatment. The septuagenarian and his 68-year-old wife, also called Mumbai’s index patients, had tested positive on March 11 following their return from a Dubai and Abu Dhabi trip.
They were among the eight patients to be discharged from the civic-run Kurla Bhabha Hospital on Tuesday evening. After being initially treated at Kasturba Hospital in Chinchpokli— the city’s nodal isolation centre—some were shifted to the Kurla hospital last week after two of their consecutive test reports came negative. Among those who went home was a threeyear-old girl from Kalyan, whose parents continue to be hospitalized, and a 62-year-old Kamothe man.
‘Kasturba doctors are masters’
A 49-year-old US-returned Ghatkopar resident and his 68-year-old domestic help were discharged too.
The three-year-old Kalyan girl’s father, who had tested positive after returning from the US, is currently serious and under treatment at Jaslok Hospital.
Speaking to TOI, the Kamothe resident said, “I was among the luckier ones who didn’t get very severe symptoms. I hardly had any fever or cough. After my initial report came positive, all the three subsequent ones were negative.” He said he was happy to go home but apprehensive about how people in the locality would behave around him.
“My wife and sons had a tough time after news got out that I was positive. I even got a phone call from a neighbour who said his tenants had vacated the house after learning of the infection,” he said. “I hope as people become more aware they understand that it’s just a flu and people recover from it,” he said, adding he was moved out of Kasturba on Sunday along with two others. “People should not step out of their homes and maintain social distancing,” he said. His wife, son and daughter-inlaw, too, are nearing the end of their home quarantine period.
The Andheri couple—Mumbai’s index patients—said they were relieved to be home after all. “Fear and anxiety is there because it’s a new disease, but Kasturba doctors are masters. They know their job. No disease is painless but, of course, multiple jabs through the day for blood tests were no fun,” he said, adding his wife was still battling a stomach bug, but she would be fine now that they were home.
While they were happy to head home, the lockdown posed a hindrance for some. The son of the 68-year-old domestic help said, “Our home is located far from the hospital and now with a complete lockdown in the city, I am unsure of how to bring her back home as public transportation has shut.” He has only spoken to his mother over phone since she was admitted on March 11.
Explaining why the BMC did not wait for 14 days to discharge patients, as was the protocol followed across the country, additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said all these patients had tested negative for the virus. “Once that happened, we didn’t want them to stay very close to positive patients or even on the same premises. Also, a team of doctors was formed to see if any of them had other ailments before they were discharged,” he said.
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