It was on March 2, 2020 that Telangana had recorded its first case. With Gandhi Hospital becoming the nodal healthcare facility in the state, doctors here were witness to many of the nearly 2,000 deaths in the state. Before dying many of the patients confessed to the doctors their fears and disappointments and also expressed their last wishes which the doctors tried to fulfil, sometimes unsuccessfully.
In fact, a yearning to correct a wrong they had done to loves ones often occupied their minds on the deathbed.
A 45-year-old him told his doctor he had not spoken to his brother in 10 years after a tiff over property. “The night before he died, he confessed that he had done wrong by misappropriating property and wanted to hand over a portion to his brother. He requested me to find his brother, but we were unable to trace him despite all efforts,” said M Raja Rao, superintendent of Gandhi hospital.
A young couple which parted ways on a bitter note last year, lay in two different isolation wards in different cities, one dying and wanting to find the other. “The patient had felt it was his mistake and had ignored all attempts forreconciliation. He wept and requested us to find his partner and let her know his feelings. He died before he could tell us how,” said a post-graduate doctor who heard the confession. The doctor had also been requested by a few others to help them slip out of the hospital to meet their families one last time.
Most confessions circled around property, money transactions, sharing of responsibilities, ego clashes and ‘wrongdoings’ that were not specified. There were other last wishes too, which included their favourite food and even a sip of their favourite tipple. “A VIP patient requested for exotic dishes he was craving for after having plain hospital food,” said Ajay Kumar Joopaka, assistant professor of psychiatry. He added that for some who wanted to meet their families, the doctors made video calls. But during the end stages, a few couldn’t recognise their own families as they had developed psychosis.