A three-year-old boy died after he accidentally swallowed a coin at his home near Aluva, with relatives alleging that government hospitals where he was taken to had refused to admit him as he came from a COVID-19 containment zone.
Health Minister K K Shailaja termed the incident as "very unfortunate" and directed the Principal Secretary (Health) to submit a report after a thorough enquiry. Stringent action would be taken if any lapses were found, she said in a statement.
The boy's relatives alleged that he was denied treatment as their residence fell in a COVID-19 containment zone at Kadungallur near Aluva. They said the incident occurred on Saturday morning following which the parents took the child to the Aluva government hospital, where an X-ray was done and revealed the presence of the object.
However, the hospital authorities allegedly did not admit the child. A senior doctor there claimed that the boy was not admitted as there was no paediatric surgeon and so he was referred to the Ernakulam General Hospital.
Doctors there examined the child and referred him to the Government Medical College Hospital, Alappuzha, for better edical care, where too he was allegedly not admitted. The doctors reportedly advised the parents to give their child fruits, which, they said, would result in the coin passing through his motion.
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The parents, who belong to a poor family, took the child back to their home in Kadungallur. However his condition worsened by evening and they rushed him to Aluva government hospital, but he died en route, police said.
The body would be handed over to the parents after post-mortem, health authorities said. His swab has been collected for COVID-19 test, they said.