The Indore district administration has launched an inquiry into the charge of relatives of four patients who died on Thursday that the private hospital they were admitted to suddenly declared them dead ahead of a sanitisation drive to prepare for the hospital’s reversion to a non-COVID one.
“We have seized their medical records and have launched an investigation. Only after its completion can it be established if the management is at fault,” said Pravin Jadia, Indore Chief Medical and Health Officer. “If any negligence is found on their part, we will act under the Nursing Home Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act.”
Three patients had tested negative for COVID-19, while the sample test report of one of them was awaited, said Dr. Jadia. The first death at the Gokuldas hospital, a yellow category facility to cater to possible cases, occurred at 11.25 a.m.,the rest in the evening. Three of them suffered from bilateral pneumonia and were admitted to the ICU.
“A team of senior doctors is looking into the deaths. Other patients being treated there are yet to be shifted,” said Akash Tripathi, Indore Divisional Commissioner.
In a video clip, the relatives claimed three patients, with whom they had interacted, died within half an hour of the interaction. One of them cried,“Look at the condition of the Gokuldas Hospital. One by one, everyone is dying.” Two days ago, they were told the hospital would be sanitised and emptied before being converted to a green facility for general patients, claimed another. “And they declared them dead,” he said.
A relative of another deceased person said, “Just ten minutes ago, my mother said she was all right. Now, she is dead.” Another chipped in: “If they wanted to sanitise the hospital, they should have first shifted the patients to another hospital, probably a government one. We would have been satisfied then.”
Five government-run hospitals and 16 government-backed private hospitals are helping combat COVID-19 in Indore, the hardest-hit city of Madhya Pradesh where 1,727 persons have tested positive, while 86 have died so far. District officials had earlier told The Hindu private hospitals were delaying sample collection, which was delaying the discharge of patients. Patients in the past alleged they were arbitrarily kept at hospital even after being cured to raise bills.
When asked about alternative arrangements the hospital had made to shift patients to another facility ahead of the sanitisation drive, Dr. Jadia said on Thursday night, “We have to ask the management. All their phones are switched off.”
In Indore, where health experts are scrambling to locate the infection’s source, the number of critical patients shot up by around four times on May 5. While on the day, 195 patients were reported critical, a day before, there were 52, according to the State Directorate of Health Services.
“The scene at the hospital raises a big question over health services and motives of the Shivraj [Singh Chouhan] government,” said former Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Twitter. “The government, while answering the queries of these relatives and giving them justifications, should launch a high-level inquiry into the incident. The situation in Madhya Pradesh is going out of control.”