Three COVID-19 patients succumbed to the disease at the Nizamabad Government General Hospital (GGH) on Friday. A dead body of one deceased person being taken in an auto in an undignified manner raised concerns as a photo went viral on social media.
Reports in a section of the media claimed that at least four persons, including three COVID-19 patients, died due to lack of oxygen support in the hospital. Reports claimed that three fatalities resulted due to hospital staff failing to replace oxygen cylinders. All three patients who succumbed to the virus belonged to Nizamabad city, according to officials.
Speaking to TNM, Nizamabad district collector C Narayana Reddy denied allegations of ill-treatment of COVID-19 victims.
He said, “As the two designated ambulances went with two bodies to a burial ground, there was a slight delay. Meanwhile, the family members of another patient wanted to cremate immediately and forced the personnel to take away the body in their own auto, given that their community cremation ground is 1 km away from the hospital. They have not intimated the same to the concerned duty doctors.”
The collector has ordered for an inquiry into the incident.
He stated that the hospital staff have been strictly instructed to enforce the standard operating procedure (SOP) laid down by the state and Centre for the disposal of bodies.
Taking note of the incident, Telangana Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr Ramesh Reddy also ordered a detailed enquiry into the reasons for breaching standard protocol for disposing the body of a COVID-19 patient. Ramesh Reddy instructed the hospital superintendent to file criminal cases on the staff members involved in handing over the body. "All hospital superintendents are instructed to strictly follow the guidelines, and such incidents should not be repeated in public interest," Dr Ramesh Reddy said in a astatement.
When asked about whether the lack of oxygen cylinders had resulted in three COVID-19 deaths at the GGH Nizamabad, the collector said, “The hospital has adequate oxygen cylinders and other life support systems. There are oxygen cylinders even in regular wards (where non-COVID-19 patients are treated). Those are completely false reports.”
He further added, “The oxygen cylinders are being replaced on a regular basis.”
Nizamabad, one of the districts which shares a border with Maharashtra, registered 18 COVID-19 cases on Thursday and reported eight cases on Friday out of the state’s 1,278 fresh cases.
The Nizamabad Government General Hospital has recently started COVID-19 testing.
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