Horror stories from Delhi's LNJP Hospital continues to pour in. Hours after the Supreme Court on Friday observed that the coronavirus hospital situation in the national capital is "horrendous", two families have claimed that their loved ones were not only denied proper care at LNJP Hospital but that after their deaths the bodies were exchanged, thereby denying one family a chance to cremate their mother while the other family ended up cremating two bodies, one of which was that of their father.
Sunny Chandra, a CISF sub-inspector, told CNN-News18 that the body of his father, Sant Ram, was handed to him on the morning of June 7 at the Nigambodh ghat by an ambulance driver of the hospital. But hours later, he claimed he got a call from the hospital that he had wrongly cremated a woman.
"On June 6, my father passed away at LNJP Hospital. We were told the body will be shown in the mortuary. The death certificate was given there, which said he had died of respiratory failure," said Chandra. "They then covered the body and put a paper on top, which had details like name, age, sex. Then in each ambulance, four to five bodies were put and sent to Nigambodh Ghat."
Chandra said the family reached the ghat, queued up, did all the paperwork after which the priest called for the body. Chandra claimed the ambulance attendant was told to get Sant Ram's body and the face was not shown.
"We requested the priest multiple times to show us the face once before cremation but he refused. We had no option but to light the pyre without checking whose body it was," said Chandra. "We were on our way home when LNJP Hospital called to say there has been some confusion. When we went back, we saw my father's body was still in the ambulance. We opened the body bag and saw his body. The chit was also stuck whereas the body we had cremated had no chit on it. Had we seen the face or the chit. we would have known that the body was that of Meera Devi."
At the same ghat, Meera Devi's son Mukesh was running from one ambulance to another trying to locate his mother's body. Mukesh said that on June 4, his mother complained of headache and was taken to the Malviya Nagar Hospital from where she was referred to LNJP.
"Doctors at Malviya Nagar said they suspected Covid-19 and were sending my mother to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for tests. But the ambulance driver brought us to LNJP," said Mukesh. "The medical papers from Malviya Nagar Hospital were also given to the ambulance driver only, so we had no idea. We followed the ambulance in our vehicle. After reaching LNJP, I had no idea where they took my mother. I repeatedly asked for her ward number and bed number all night but got no information."
Over the next two days, Mukesh says he went from CMO to ward boys to cleaners to guards trying to get information about his mother, but in vain. He finally heard from a cleaning staff that his mother was in ward 27.
"I managed to smuggle in a phone and spoke to her on the evening of June 5. She had not been given any food or medicine. No test was conducted," he alleged
Fearing for his mother's well-being, Mukesh called up the Delhi Police PCR number and the chief minister's office but received no help.
"I literally fell at the feet of the CMO on June 6 to discharge my mother so that I could take her to some other hospital. Finally he agreed and I spoke to my mother, assuring her I will get her discharged," said Mukesh.
However, 10 minutes later he was told Meera Devi had died. "They killed my mother on purpose," said a distraught Mukesh. But his ordeal was far from over.
"Even after all this, they did not hand over the body," alleged Mukesh. "On the morning of June 7, they showed me the body but asked me to go to Nigambodh and said the body will be sent there. When we reached ,there we went hunting from one ambulance to another. One Sant Ram's body was seen in an LNJP ambulance, the driver said this is my mother. When I asked him to show the face, he refused. We went back to the hospital and they said someone else has cremated your mother."
In the past, LNJP authorities have said similar named have led to bodies getting exchanged but they have no answer to how the dead bodies of a man and a woman were mixed up.