BMC inquires about man's health 8 days after his death

Updated: May 30, 2020, 07:29 IST | Ashish Raje, Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Amid uncertainty over his father being infected by COVID-19, Umesh Lanjekar laments private hospitals' refusal to treat his father, and civic apathy

Balkrishna Lanjekar
Balkrishna Lanjekar

Amid the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic, a Saat Rasta resident has accused the civic body of mismanagement. Eight days after his father died at BYL Nair Hospital, Umesh Lanjekar received a call from the BMC, inquiring about his health. Lanjekar has cited this and his struggle to get his father treated as the civic body's failure.

By now, half of the city's population has or knows someone who has struggled because of lack of beds for COVID-19 and other patients. Lanjekar's father, Balkrishna Lanjekar, 87, was suffering from loose motions and after trying at several private hospitals, he was admitted to Nair hospital.

"We first went to Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital on May 4. The hospital suspected him to have COVID-19 and said they don't treat COVID-19 patients. We then tried Bhatia, Wockhardt, Shushrusha and Hinduja, all refused to treat him," said Umesh.

As a last resort, the family went to Kasturba Hospital, which directed them to civic-run Nair hospital. "We requested them not to keep him with COVID-19 patients but they did not have another facility. On the second day, the doctor said that he is COVID-19 positive and on the third that he tested negative. They advised us to take him home if the third test returns negative as my father was feeling well and was active. But the third test's result never came. The doctor said it was misplaced. On May 9, my father slipped in the hospital's toilet and died on May 11," Umesh said.

Balkrishna's death certificate cites respiratory illness as a result of COVID-19 as the cause. However, Umesh has questioned that if his second test was negative and the result of the third unknown, how did the hospital arrive at this conclusion.

Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal visited BYL Nair Hospital on May 9.
Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal visited BYL Nair Hospital on May 9. File pic

"This shows how the largest civic corporation is working. There isn't any management, any system to treat patients irrespective of whether they are infected with COVID-19. Many people may die due to such mismanagement," said Umesh.

Umesh also said that on May 8, the BMC called and asked him and his mother to get tested and quarantine themselves for 14 days. Despite repeated attempts, his mother was not tested. "At Nair hospital, staff expected help from relatives to collect hot water, change patient's clothes in a COVID-19 ward. We were terribly stressed. On top of that, BMC calls us on May 19 to ask how my deceased parent is doing. How can they call for someone who died at their own hospital? I believe that my father did not die of COVID-19 but because of mismanagement."

What officials say

"Generally, COVID-19 tests are not done on consecutive days. It may happen if the patient is shifted to another ward or any other reason cited by the doctors. We are trying to upgrade the system and are ready to talk to the relatives," Dr. Mohan Joshi, dean of BYL Nair Hospital told mid-day.

"Two roads of Saat Rasta come under E ward and five under G South ward. Sometimes, information of patients goes to another ward and then comes to us, this takes a few days. This may happen with cases from border areas," said an officer from the BMC's health department.

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