Mumbai: COVID-19 patient left semi-clad for hours after death

Updated: Jun 05, 2020, 08:53 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

A resident of Govandi, Shaikh complained of stomach ache around 15 days ago, after which her husband took her to a local doctor

A patient being wheeled into KEM hospital. File pic/ Suresh Karkera
A patient being wheeled into KEM hospital. File pic/ Suresh Karkera

Apart from grievances of patients about medical treatment at Parel's KEM hospital, there are now complaints of the dead not being treated with dignity as well. Saira Shaikh (name changed), 40, who had tested positive for COVID-19 died on June 2 and her relatives have alleged that her body was left partially clothed for over eight hours after her death in the hospital ward.

A resident of Govandi, Shaikh complained of stomach ache around 15 days ago, after which her husband took her to a local doctor. "The doctor asked us to get a sonography done and said that she had kidney stones. I took her to KEM hospital when she wasn't getting any better," he said. She was admitted to KEM hospital on May 22, days after which she tested positive for COVID.

After her test results, she was shifted to the COVID ward and that was the last time her husband saw her. He further alleged that while his wife was kept in the COVID ward, she was not given proper food and wasn't cared for properly even after her death. "The doctors informed me that she had died at around 6:30 pm (on June 2). Another patient in the ward told me that her body was left uncovered for more than eight hours. A video taken by them shows her wearing just her kurta. My wife wore a burqa. How could they leave her like that and why wasn't she covered with a sheet at least?" he said.

Delay in handing over body

Shoaib Hashmi, a social worker who was helping Shaikh's husband, said that the hospital failed to follow the regulations that the body of a COVID patient should be released within two hours. "Her body was not brought from the ward to the mortuary for more than six hours after her death since no ward boys were available. Her body was handed over to her family the next day. The hospital has violated the civic body's regulations," he said. The patient's documents from the hospital show that she died at 7 pm on June 2 and according to her relatives, her body was handed over to them at 11 am on June 3.

'Docs didn't take care of her'

Despite all his efforts, Shaikh feels that he was unable to save his wife and he now has the responsibility of raising his three sons and a daughter all by himself. "I slept on the road outside the hospital for eight days thinking that she might need me to get medicines or fruit juice. She was conscious when I last saw her and now she is dead. She was a healthy woman before all this. She died because the doctors didn't take care of her properly," he said.

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