Coronavirus outbreak: Staff, patients panic after woman's death at hospital

Updated: Mar 31, 2020, 08:02 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

She passed away on March 28 in the ICU. Her swabs were collected and sent on March 25 to the Metropolis lab for diagnosis, but till now the report hasn't reached the hospital. However the handing over of the body to the BMC alarmed staff

Residents near the hospital are also scared due to the incident. File pic
Residents near the hospital are also scared due to the incident. File pic

The death of an 81-year-old woman in Shushrusha Hospital, Dadar, has set alarm bells ringing among the patients as well as staff. Although the report of the patient tested for COVID-19 infection is awaited, the death has also scared thousands of residents across Dadar. The staff is worried because the body was handed to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for disposal as per rules for COVID-19 patients. The staff claimed they haven't been told whether the patient was COVID-19 positive.

The patient in question was admitted on the afternoon of March 18 after complaining of chest pain and breathlessness. She passed away on March 28 in the ICU. Her swabs were collected and sent on March 25 to the Metropolis lab for diagnosis, but till now the report hasn't reached the hospital. However the handing over of the body to the BMC alarmed staff.

"The nurse who looked after the patient is in deep trauma and hasn't come to work. The staff in the ward where the patient was getting treated and patients in the ICU are also scared, they don't know whether they will also get infected," said a staff member. Staff also raised concerns about the lack of safety measures and protective gears. "We are under tremendous stress now. We haven't been informed whether the patient tested positive or not. Should we get ourselves tested or quarantined? It's too stressful," said a nurse.

However, Dr Ameya Medhekar, incharge of internal medicine said everything was done as per BMC guidelines. He said, "The patient had no travel history or close contact with a positive patient or traveller. While treating her, guidelines for testing were followed, which includes that a patient with acute respiratory issue has to be tasted for COVID-19 too. We have sent a swab sample on March 25, we are waiting for the report."

As per procedure, the private lab screening the sample has to inform the result to BMC's health department, which further informs the concerned hospital about it.

Contrary to staff claims, Dr Medhekar also said they had been told to stay at home. "Though the report is awaited, we have started sanitisation of the concerned department and ICU. We have also told staff to rest at home till the report comes," said Dr Medhekar.

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