A Mumbai resident, stuck in Ghana following the lockdown in India, has been running from bureaucratic pillar to post since last month so that he can come back home to his differently-abled daughter, while his wife and son are admitted with the very disease that has shut down the country’s borders.
Girish Wadhwani, a businessman, stays with his wife Rupali (43), his 14-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter in the Sheth Heights society on RCF Marg in Chembur.
On March 19, Ms. Wadhwani reported a mild fever and wet cough. She called Mr. Wadhwani, who was on a business trip in Ghana, and contacted the Kasturba Hospital to enquire about getting tested.
“My wife did not get proper guidance from the hospital at first, especially considering the fact that my daughter suffers from RETT syndrome, a neuro-development disorder. The hospital refused to test my wife and she had to go to the local physician, who put her on antibiotics. When there was no change, the physician simply changed the medication,” Mr. Wadhwani said.
When she called Kasturba Hospital again, the staff allegedly told her that she was ineligible for tests as she did not have ‘high fever’ and ‘dry cough’, which was among their criteria. Finally, on Mach 27, Ms. Wadhwani went to a private laboratory, where she tested positive for COVID-19.
“No ambulance was ready to take her to the hospital as she had tested positive. It was only with the help of the RCF police that an ambulance was arranged to take her to Fortis Hospital in Mulund. On March 28, the rest of the family was tested, and my son as well as mother-in-law both tested positive. All three are admitted to Fortis, my wife being in the intensive care unit,” Mr. Wadhwani said. He added that his worry is compounded by the fact that his daughter, who needs special care, is now with his mother and nephew, who are not trained in taking care of her. Due to her condition, she is unable to talk, walk or eat on her own, and cannot convey to people around her when she needs to use the washroom.
Since then, Mr. Wadhwani and his brother-in-law Arjun Shahani, who is in India, have contacted every possible agency, including the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Indian High Commission at Accra in Ghana. “The ball, however, just keeps being tossed from one court to another,” Mr. Shahani said.
Having exhausted all options, the family has started an online signature petition, while also writing to the Prime Minister’s Office.
The letter has only received an acknowledgement and an application number from the PM’s online grievance redressal portal.
“It is surprising that we are not getting any response. We can only hope that the Prime Minister takes some action,” Mr. Shahani said.