For the past nine years, Neeranjan Singh has been getting sicker as his heart slowly shuts down.
He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2011 after suffering from a heart attack.
At only 50 years old, Singh takes 22 tablets and insulin twice a day in his fight for survival.
In 2017, the last time he was able to afford a visit to a private cardiologist, Singh was told his heart was functioning at 35 per cent.
In an interview at his Tunapuna home yesterday, Singh said he has been trying in vain to get another echocardiogram at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMS). He was given an appointment for yesterday back in 2019 but as he eagerly awaited his chance to see a doctor, his wife Dulari got a call from the hospital last Friday.
“They keep cancelling all the time. Last year, they gave us an appointment for December 21, which is today. They called me on Friday and told me it cancelled until January 31, 2022,” his wife Dulari said.
Singh said he spends over $3,000 a month on his medication but he does not believe it is strong enough to battle his heart failure. He said he is rarely able to get any of the medication he needs at the hospital’s dispensary.
He held up a tiny white spray bottle, containing medicine he needs to administer under his tongue every two hours so his heart does not fail.
He uses a nitrate patch at night so he can sleep while the medication works.
But he said without the echocardiogram, he does not know if the medications are sufficient.
“I use this every two hours under the tongue, why I really need to see the doctor is to know if I need to upgrade this or the patch,” he said.
Pinned on the wall next to his bed was a listing for the ambulance and other emergency services.
Dulari makes good use of the list at least once a month when Singh cannot breathe and needs to visit the emergency department of the EWMSC.
“As I said, it have caring doctors and nurses at Mt Hope but they don’t have the equipment and they don’t have the medication to give you so all they can do is stabilise you and send you home, that’s it,” Singh said.
He said he spends most of his days confined to his bed as he cannot walk long distances, nor can he do any type of labour.
“The thing is if I out of the air condition, I start to sweat like if I mixing concrete and then the heart start to race. Seven of my friends died already, between last year and January this year and we have the same problem, if I walk from here to across the road, I sweating, then I shaking, so that is the problem I having,” Singh said.
He sent out an appeal to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh to fix the issues plaguing the clinic.
“I am begging the Minister to do something about this. I know a lot of the problems are because of lifestyle, I myself never exercised, it was just work and home and work again. But we can work on our lifestyle habits and the Minister can make sure there are doctors and medication at the hospital so we don’t have to suffer,” Singh said.
Guardian Media tried contacting North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) Davlin Thomas but calls to his cellphone and his office went unanswered. Thomas also did not respond to WhatsApp and text messages sent to his cellphone for comment.
When Guardian Media contacted Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, an unidentified person answered his phone, asked for a message to be left and promised to pass it on to Deyalsingh.
However, there was no response forthcoming up to press time.