A video of two ambulance workers dumping the body of a coronavirus patient on the pavement outside a hospital in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal city was widely shared on social media on Tuesday, NDTV reported. The man was being treated at the People’s Hospital in Bhopal, but was being moved to Chirayu Hospital after he tested positive for the virus on Monday evening.
The son of the power distribution company employee said that he had been suffering from a kidney ailment and was admitted to the People’s Hospital on June 23. During the last few days, he had also developed breathing problem and was suspected to have pneumonia.
“I do not know what happened in the ambulance but why did the district administration have to shift him to Chirayu and send the ambulance if they were to dump him on the road like this,” the son asked. “Both the hospitals are at fault...they never informed us.”
The son added that his father was alive when the ambulance picked him up from the hospital to transfer him to the coronavirus-designated facility. “The ambulance came at around 5 pm and took my father,” he added, according to Hindustan Times. “I also left the place but later in the evening, I came to know that my father was abandoned by Chirayu Hospital ambulance back at People’s Hospital.”
People’s Hospital Manager Uday Shankar Dixit, where the patient was abandoned, blamed Chirayu Hospital for the incident. “As per protocol and IDSP [Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme] instructions, an ambulance from Chirayu Medical College reached, but after an hour-40 minutes they informed us that they were coming back,” he told NDTV. “But by then we had sealed the ICU and started the process of fumigation of the hospital as per protocol, and while the process was still on, the ambulance returned.”
The ambulance workers asked for a stretcher from the hospital after coming back, but did not get one. “But when we resisted they dumped his body on the road outside the hospital,” Dixit said. “So after that I requested our staffers to wear a PPE kit, used our stretcher and tried to revive him but he was not breathing.”
Ajay Goenka, Director of Chirayu Hospital, said the ambulance came back due to traffic. “The driver picked up the patient and when he reached near VIP road he felt his condition is deteriorating and he is critical,” he said. “He realised because of the traffic it will take around 45 minutes to reach Chirayu Hospital, so after talking to the doctors at People’s Hospital, he turned back midway.”
He said People’s Hospital had asked for ambulance, stating that the patient’s kidneys had failed and that he wasalso suffering from some heart diseases. They, however, added that his condition was stable, according to Goenka.
“CPR and other interventions were conducted by People’s Hospital,” the director said. “Our ventilator-equipped ambulance reached after 20-25 minutes but by the time he had collapsed. We took him to our mortuary, there was no lapse. I don’t why authorities from People’s hospital creating a fuss about the driver coming back.”
A magistrate has been asked to conduct inquiry into the case and Bhopal Collector Avinash Lavania has sought an explanation from People’s Hospital. “How can you refer a patient to another hospital without stabilising his condition,” he asked. “Moreover, he was admitted there since 23rd, so what protocol did they follow to ensure he doesn’t get corona infected? How can somebody who is admitted to a hospital for more than a week suddenly become corona positive? His symptoms would have shown if his situation became so bad.”
Several such videos of bodies of coronavirus patients being dumped have emerged in the last few weeks, triggering outrage.