“I was very scared for I was unable to breathe normally. I was suffocating and was extremely scared. I felt like I was going to die. I felt hopeless and useless for not being able to do anything. I was very traumatised and anxious.
“Being the father of the household, a breadwinner for my family, I was not able to provide. I felt being a burden and putting them in trouble for we are not financially sound. The feeling was heavy and it was hard for me to cope.”
Padam is a 39-year-old farmer and family man from Nepal.
When Padam was checked at Chaurjahari Hospital, his oxygen level was 70 (normal is 95 plus) and he complained of fever, body aches, chest pain and respiratory distress.
He tested COVID-19 positive, and was admitted to the isolation ward, where he spent the next 10 days on oxygen support… with no improvement.
Padam’s financial situation was poor, so he went untested while his condition worsened. He also did not seek medical attention for fear of not being able to afford treatment. Breadwinners like Padam fall further into poverty when they are unable to work or provide for their families.
Fortunately, the doctors and nurses at the hospital visited him daily and encouraged him with positivity. He received excellent medical and emotional care… and he began to get better.
After 14 days, Padam had improved, did not need further oxygen and was ready to head home. It cost nearly $2,500 (NPR 210,000) to treat Padam, yet he received it for free.