Mumbai: 'KEM hospital killed my son,' says grieving mother

Updated: Jun 25, 2020, 07:51 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Mother of 34-year-old says hospital didn't send his swabs for virus test, and when questioned, the dean threatened to mark the body as unclaimed if not taken away as 'suspected COVID-19 case'

Dr Vaibhav Sable, the deceased
Dr Vaibhav Sable, the deceased

The family of a 34-year-old man has blamed the KEM Hospital for his death, accusing the doctors and the administration of negligence. They alleged the hospital first delayed his admission even though he was grasping for breath, and then gave him antibiotics despite being warned that he was allergic to them. They allege the medicine killed him in the next two hours.

Dr Vaibhav Sable, a resident of Manur Wadi who has a Doctorate from Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Matunga, lived with his mother, sister and maternal aunt. "On May 14, he started feeling feverish and went to a nearby doctor who prescribed him some medicines. After finding no relief, he went to another. He was still restless when returned home. Later, he drank a lot of water and breathless," his mother Kalpana, told mid-day.

The family took Vaibhav to KEM Hospital around 6 pm, where doctors took his X-ray imaging, which showed patches of water in his lungs. Doctors asked Vaibhav and his family to wait for a while.

"He was admitted around 12.30 am and his swabs were taken for COVID-19 test. Meanwhile, we decided to move him to a private hospital in Wadala, but, a KEM doctor said he had contracted COVID-19 and can't be discharged," said Sanghpal Sonawane, his maternal uncle. "We told them we wanted discharge against medical advise (DAMA), but they refused and even called up the private hospital and told them he can't be discharged," he added.

The family alleged that Vaibhav slept in the corridor of the hospital throughout the night of May 14. Next day, they decided to give antibiotics. Kalpna said "we told the doctor he is allergic to antibiotics, but he yelled at me saying, 'don't teach me medicine'." He developed red patches all over his body and within two hours, he was dead, the family said.

In shock, the family returned on May 16 to take the body home, but was told to wait as his COVID-19 report was awaited. Till May 18, they received the same response and decided to go to the laboratory where the hospital claimed to have sent the sample and were shocked to learn they hadn't received.

"We rushed to the KEM's dean office, where the officials said 'either claim the body as 'suspected COVID-19 case' or the administration will mark the body as unclaimed'," Sonawane said.

They took the body on May 20 and conducted the last rites. After the hospital didn't give them any details despite several follow-ups, they submitted a written complaint to the Wadala police on June 20, demanding action against those responsible.

A police officer said they "are working on" the complaint. Calls and messages to KEM Hospital Dean Dr Hemant Deshmukh went unanswered.

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