On 7th April we reported that hundreds of survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster had been left without access to adequate medical care after local government ordered the requisition of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre for the exclusive treatment of Covid-19 patients in the city. You can read the report in full here: https://www.bhopal.org/survivors-left-stranded-after-government-requisitions-hospital-as-covid-19-treatment-centre/
We can now report that the Madhya Pradesh government has reversed the order to turn BMHRC into a treatment centre for Covid-19 patients only. This means that it will now go back to serving the gas-affected community, including re-opening the ICU and resuming dialysis for patients with kidney disease, as well as treatment for those with respiratory diseases. The majority of gas survivors were unable to secure effective treatment at hospitals elsewhere in the city, with reports that some hospitals were mishandling cases and even providing incorrect treatments to referred patients. The decision to reopen BMHRC was thus vital for the survivor community and we hope it will prevent any further unnecessary loss of life.
Sadly three patients passed away before the decision was overturned and our thoughts are with their families and friends during this very difficult time. Tragically Munni Bee, the BMHRC patient who together with Rachna Dhingra filed a petition to re-open the hospital last month, also passed away on April 8th. We wish to recognise her incredible efforts to ensure continued treatment for her fellow survivors despite her critical health conditions and are deeply sorry that she did not live to see those efforts succeed.
As well as Munni we wish to thank Rachna Dhingra and the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, lawyer Karuna Nundy, and all those who supported the petition for their part in helping to secure the re-opening of the facility. We are pleased to report that there are now four other hospitals in Bhopal with facilities for treatment of Covid-19 patients, two government and two private, so this development will not prevent those with the virus receiving treatment. We will provide further updates on the coronavirus situation in Bhopal soon.