KOLKATA — On 23 September, Kushal Singh, a 33-year-old physical therapist employed at the Akash Hospital in Dwarka, Delhi, died after battling severe complications from Covid-19 for over a month. Singh’s family claimed that he had contracted the virus ‘while working tirelessly as a COVID warrior at the hospital’. Singh, who was admitted to the hospital’s emergency five days after developing fever and then having difficulty in breathing, had been put on an ECMO, and various other life-saving devices. Soon his lungs collapsed and doctors suggested an expensive lung transplant. As the cost of his treatment spiralled out of the family’s means, his brother started a fundraiser on a crowdfunding platform in a desperate bid to raise money for his treatment.
While Singh was battling for his life, the Indian government said in reply to an MP’s question in the Lok Sabha that it had no data on the number of doctors who have lost their lives due to Covid-19. Private body Indian Medical Association (IMA) released data that it had collected, which indicated that as of 11 September, at least 364 doctors had died while on the frontlines treating the disease. It has also submitted a detailed report on the working conditions of doctors and other healthcare workers to the Rajya Sabha, but hasn’t received any response from the government so far. On 16 September, the number had climbed to 382.
RV Asokan, honorary secretary general of the IMA, told HuffPost India that the association’s representatives in each state have been independently keeping track of doctors infected with Covid-19 and their condition through their personal networks and that the number they put out was the minimum deaths they have recorded among doctors in India due to Covid-19. “The data is not comprehensive, meaning these are the least numbers we have records of. There could be more,” he said.
According to IMA’s data, the most number of doctors died in Tamil Nadu as of 10 September—61....