Anticipating dire consequences, in 2020 the world braced itself for the unparalleled pandemic by resorting to unprecedented measures including stringent lockdowns, unforeseen social isolations, spotlight focus, resource diversions besides reorganized healthcare systems to name the quintessential few. Such unifocal convergence enhanced the vulnerabilities of patients dependent on non-COVID healthcare assistance. For a nation with a meagre allocation of 0.7 hospital beds per 1000 people and a lopsided doctor-population ratio of 1:1800, COVID-centric measures created unintended complications. Ironically, many succumbed in myriad ways, not due to the pandemic but due to the attributes of the survival measures. While such consequences cannot be reversed, we need to be able to draw learnings from all such experiences. Particularly, as healthcare advances into the 21st century and we evolve towards an individualized care model, the contrasting “blanket treatment approach,” while an understandable contingency measure for pandemic emergencies, warrants serious attention.

With this narrative, we would like to highlight the anguish and frustration faced by the parents and the doctors as multifarious elements complexly entangled to delay a crucial surgery in a two-year-old child with prolonged RT-PCR positivity. Knowing that mankind is likely to face such pandemics again, future responses require us to visualize the whole picture from a zoomed-out perspective to be able to roll out a synchronized holistic strategy. One needs to introspect on the mutilations incurred, to help redesign our disaster management responses, in order to address “all cause” damage and not just the pandemic ones.

Experience Framework

This article is associated with the Patient, Family & Community Engagement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework (https://www.theberylinstitute.org/ExperienceFramework).