In yet another incident of callous and undignified treatment of the dead, a COVID-19 patient’s body was dumped on the pavement outside a hospital in Bhopal on Monday (July 6) night after staff of two hospitals fought over jurisdiction, reported NDTV.
CCTV footage sourced by NDTV shows two health workers in PPE taking the body out of an ambulance and keeping it on the pavement of People’s Hospital without handing it over to concerned authorities.
The report said, the patient, who used to work for a power distribution company, had been unwell since January and was admitted to People’s Hospital on June 23 with a kidney condition. He had developed breathing trouble in the past few days and tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday (July 6) evening.
His son told NDTV that he was alive when he was carted to the ambulance to be moved to Chirayu Hospital, which is the city’s COVID facility.
The ambulance had reportedly returned to People’s Hospital midway instead of taking the patient to Chirayu Hospital, following which the health workers dumped the body.
“I do not know what happened in the ambulance but why did the district administration have to shift him to Chirayu and send the ambulance if they were to dump him on the road like this? Both the hospitals are at fault…they never informed us,” NDTV quoted his son as saying.
People’s Hospital manager Uday Shankar Dixit, however, said that while the ambulance took charge of the patient under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, 40 minutes later ambulance staff informed that they were coming back.
“But by then we had sealed the ICU and started the process of fumigation of the hospital as per protocol, and while the process was still on, the ambulance returned,” NDTV quoted him as saying.
Dixit said the ambulance staff had asked for a stretcher to put the body in, but when People’s Hospital didn’t provide that they dumped it on the pavement outside the hospital.
He said when hospital staff in PPE later tried to revive the patient, he was not breathing.
Ajay Goenka, the director of Chirayu Hospital on the other hand said that they had received a request from People’s Hospital for a patient with kidney failure and heart disease, who was “stable”.
“So we decided to send one ambulance with oxygen support. The driver picked up the patient and when he reached near VIP road he felt his condition is deteriorating and he is critical. He realized because of the traffic it will take around 45 minutes to reach Chirayu Hospital, so after talking to the doctors at People’s hospital, he turned back midway,” Goenka told NDTV.
“A CPR and other interventions were conducted by People’s Hospital. Our ventilator-equipped ambulance reached after 20-25 minutes but by the time he had collapsed. We took him to our mortuary, there was no lapse. I don’t know why authorities from People’s hospital are creating a fuss about the driver coming back,” he alleged.
Bhopal Collector Avinash Lavania has asked for an explanation from People’s Hospital.