Family members of a cancer patient on Wednesday alleged that Ahmedabad civil hospital did not inform them about his post-admission status since May 5 and also about his death, which occurred five days ago.
The kin said they came to know about the patient's whereabouts when his body was found kept in the morgue of the hospital. The 54-year-old deceased was a resident of Porbandar, located about 400 kms away from Ahmedabad.
Son of the deceased alleged that authorities asked him to approach the COVID-19 centre attached to the hospital to get his father's sample tested for coronavirus on May 4.
"My father's sample was taken for testing at the special 1,200-bed COVID facility of the civil hospital, and he was admitted in the ICU of the hospital on May 4. Authorities told me that they will inform me about the result of my father's samples on my phone number, but no call came for
eight days," he claimed.
He said he had been visiting the hospital daily and also left his phone number and other details at its help desk, but received no response. He also alleged that the patients' register didn't have any record of his father.
He then approached senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia for help since the deceased was a party worker. "I was told that the cancer patient was admitted in ward no.3 of the facility and not in ICU as per the OPD record. However, the patient was not found in that ward," Modhwadia said.
The deceased's son said authorities finally found him in the morgue of the hospital. "They told me that my father died May 8. But I was not informed about his death till today and it seems that they have searched him due to pressure," he said.
MM Prabhakar, the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) for COVID-19 cases at the civil hospital, said the patient died on May 8. He said authorities tried to reach the son of the deceased, but he could not connect with him on his phone.
"The deceased had approached the cancer hospital for the treatment of throat cancer, but he was shifted to the coronaviurus facility for testing," Prabhakar said.
He said the deceased's son came to the facility on Wednesday. "Staff searched for the patient after his son visited the facility and found that his body was kept in the morgue after his death on May 8," the OSD said.
Meanwhile, Modhwadia questioned why the deceased, a local Congress worker, was not shifted back to the cancer hospital if he was COVID negative and still kept at the COVID facility instead.
"Even a cattle owner keeps track of his flock in a 'Panjrapole' (cow shed), but the manner in which the civil hospital keeps record of its patients reflects on the condition of the health care-system of Gujarat, and the civil hospital, which is the largest government hospital in the
state," he said.