Asian Games medallist runner Sucha Singh has recovered from COVID-19 but not before a nightmarish experience while undergoing treatment.
Giving an account of his ordeal, Singh said it was “disrespectful” that an athlete, who has won laurels for the country, had to endure so much at this stage of life since he had to run from pillar-to-post to even get the test done.
Singh had won an individual 400m bronze in the 1970 Asian Games and was a part of the silver winning teams in 4x400m relay in the 1970 and 1974 Asian Games.
He had tested positive for coronavirus on August 4 but has now been discharged after another test on August 17 returned negative.
The septuagenarian, who was admitted to PIMS hospital in Jalandhar, said the treatment burnt a big hole in his pocket as he had to arrange Rs 2.5 lakh with the help of his relatives.
“I had high fever and cough on the intervening night of July 25-26 and I consulted a doctor at a clinic. The fever and cough did not subside and after a few days I decided to get tested,” Singh told PTI from his home in Jalandhar.
But the ordeal began after that as he had to wait for two days to get the test done.
“I got the test done for which I paid Rs 5000 at a hospital (at Jalandhar). They sent me to Patel Hospital where for what was a two-hour test, I spent two nights there and had to pay Rs 30,000.
“For recovery from coronavirus, I was admitted to PIMS Hospital on August 4. The next day, the staff asked me deposit Rs one lakh before 12 noon for treatment and I did that,” he said.
Singh said he had to borrow money from his relatives to pay the hospital bill.
“After one week they asked me to deposit another one lakh. I had to ask my relatives for help. They gave me the money and only then I could get discharge from the hospital. I have spent Rs 2.5 lakh in total.
“This is really disrespectful for a former athlete.”
Singh was one of the top quarter-milers in the 1970s and he won a hat-trick of titles in the Nationals from 1972 to 1974.
His son works in the US and daughter also studies near New York.