Sixty-eight-year old cancer patient Ajoy Manna was admitted to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) on Thursday (July 9). He was allotted bed number 404 in the Covid ward of the hospital as he was running fever.
Hours after his admission, the Howrah resident died. His family members, however, got to know about his death only on Tuesday (July 14), five day after his demise, and that too accidentally. All along, the family members were being told that Manna was recuperating.
“Since he was in the Covid ward, we were not allowed to go there. My father was also not allowed to keep a mobile phone with him. The hospital gave us a helpline number to get his health update. But every time we called the number, they told us that the patient in bed number 404 was doing well and responding to medicine,” said Robin Manna, son of the deceased.
On Tuesday, Robin sent food for his father through a hospital staff attached to the Covid ward. But the staff did not find any patient named Ajoy Manna on bed number 404. That alarmed Robin.
On further inquiry, Robin was told by the hospital authorities that his father died on Tuesday night itself and that his body was kept in the morgue.
The hospital authorities claimed that they had tried to reach Robin on the number provided to the hospital during the admission of his father. But he could not be reached on that. Since the bed was later allotted to another patient, the phone operator was conveying to the Manna family the health status of the current patient occupying the bed.
Superintendent of the hospital, Indranil Biswas, said that he would inquire into the goof-up.
Meanwhile, on Friday, a Class XII student, Subhrajit Chattopadhya (18), died in the CMCH after three hospitals refused him admission since Thursday.
Several such reports continue to surface despite stern warning from the state government that it would not tolerate negligence. Last month, the government had warned both private and state-run hospitals that strict action would be taken if patients were denied admission for treatment in the medical facilities.
Two expert teams were also formed by the health department to monitor implementation of Covid-19 treatment protocols. As reported by The Federal on July 10, the teams had also found that many state-run and private hospitals were not properly following the treatment protocols. Several advisories were also issued to the hospitals to rectify the deficiencies.
Department sources said that some hospitals continued to flout the directives.
Even on Tuesday, advisories were issued to the principal, Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata/Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital, superintendents of all Covid hospitals, chief medical officers of all health districts and directors/chief executive officers of all private Covid hospitals.
In the advisories, the department again pointed out the lapses such as in certain cases, doctors were found to be unaware of the oxygen saturation level in the blood of some Covid-19 patients. In some hospitals, quick response teams are yet to be formed to tackle the emergency situation.
The department also asked hospitals not to burden the “patient party” with the responsibility of arranging medicines.
“Newer drugs which are described in protocol can be used but it is the institution’s responsibility to arrange those medicines for patients instead of giving the burden on the patient party,” the department told the hospitals in its latest advisories.