Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Nitesh Rane on Monday posted a video of bodies wrapped in blue bags lying next to patients who are being treated for the coronavirus at the municipality-run KEM hospital in Mumbai.
This came days after a similar video surfaced from a ward in Sion hospital, which was shared widely on social media on Wednesday. The hospital, however, later said that the bodies were unattended as relatives of those who died of the coronavirus were reluctant to take them.
“KEM hospital today at 7 am,” Rane tweeted along with the video. “I think the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation wants us to get used to seeing dead bodies around us while taking treatment because they just don’t want to improve! Feel bad for the health workers too who have to work in such conditions!! Is there any hope?”
The hospital said the video was filmed within the 20-minute “time lag” it takes for the authorities to shift bodies to the mortuary, NDTV reported. “In the pre-Covid-19 era, when any person died, the body was kept in the ward for upto two hours as per medico-legal code,” said Dr Hemant Deshmukh, the dean of KEM hospital. “There is always a time lag of 30 minutes from the time of death to shifting to the mortuary,.. In this video, the body that you see was moved to the mortuary within 20 minutes and the video was clicked very early in the morning by a patient. Nowadays, most of the family is in quarantine so it takes some time for families to arrive.”
Deshmukh also said body bags are used to stop the spread of the infection. “We pack the bodies after chemical treatment,” he added. “There is misconception that these are just plastic bags. These are special bags for packing bodies. The body bag is impervious and no infection can spread.”
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Anil Desai said there is no need to defame anyone in the matter, ANI reported. “Maximum care is being taken,” he told the news agency. “If any such video is viral on social media then it might have happened at that very moment but corrective measures would have been taken immediately. All officials are working efficiently.”
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had set up a committee to investigate the Sion hospital video. The civic authority is yet to comment on the latest case. KEM hospital is located 5 km away from the Sion hospital in Mumbai.
Last month, Maharashtra Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta issued an order directing that bodies of coronavirus patients should be shifted out of the wards within 30 minutes of death and disposed of within 12 hours.
So far, Maharashtra has 22,171 coronavirus cases – more than any other state in India. Of these, Mumbai alone accounts for over 12,000 cases.