‘Health Dept Misinformed Us’: Son of First COVID-19 Fatality

Health dept officials claimed that the patient had been discharged from a Kalburagi hospital against their advice

Published14 Mar 2020, 10:38 AM IST
India
3 min read

The son of the 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi in Karnataka, who was recorded as India's first coronavirus death, criticised health officials in Karnataka for their handling of his father's health. He denied the statements made by officials of the Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department, that the family of the 76-year-old man went against medical advice to discharge him from a private hospital in Kalaburagi and shift him to Care Hospital in Hyderabad on 10 March.

Speaking to Gulbarga Live, he said, “If they had told us to go to Gulbarga Institute of Medical Science (GIMS) we would have gone there. I did not know there was an isolated ward there. From 4 am to 2 pm, we kept going around Hyderabad. The patient was struggling for water. I hold the health department here responsible. They did not inform us properly, that is why my father died."

GIMS houses one of the laboratories in Karnataka designated for testing samples for coronavirus. In a press conference on Thursday, Karnataka Health Minister Sriramulu said that the family of the 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi discharged him from a private hospital in Kalaburagi against the advice given by health officials.

The 76-year-old arrived in India from Saudi Arabia on 29 February. He was admitted in a private hospital in Kalaburagi on 9 March. His samples were collected for testing in Kalaburagi before he was shifted to Care Hospital in Hyderabad. “Without waiting for the test results, the attendees insisted and the patient was discharged against medical advice (DAMA) and the attendees took him to a private hospital in Hyderabad,” the Health Department’s statement said.

On 10 March, the man was being brought back to Kalaburagi in an ambulance when he was declared dead. Results of the tests on his samples were confirmed to be positive on Thursday, making him the first recorded death due to the virus in the country.

However, the son of the man contradicted the claims of the Karnataka Health Department.

“On the night of 8 March, he started coughing a lot after midnight. We called the doctor and he advised us to take him to a hospital immediately. We went to a chest specialist, but he did not give any response and asked us to go to Sunrise hospital. There, around 11 am (on 9 March), the X-ray results came, they told us he is okay and that they will treat him. At 4 pm, a CT scan was done. After that, they told us he is in serious condition and asked us to go to Hyderabad immediately,” the son said.

“We told them we do not want to go to Hyderabad, we will treat him here itself. But they said no and forced us to go to Hyderabad. Then, since we were helpless, we went,” he added.

The son also stated that he visited Gandhi and Apollo hospitals in Hyderabad before turning to Care Hospital where he admits he did not mention visiting the first two hospitals in Hyderabad. The man from Kalaburagi was admitted in Care Hospital but he was soon asked to leave. According to the son, the hospital authorities got to know that the patient had visited two other hospitals in Hyderabad.

The son stated that they received a call from health officials in Kalaburagi asking them to bring his father back to the district. “We asked why they did not tell us before, we would have never left. Then they asked us to come back. Kalaburagi DHO Jabbar called and we said okay. At the time his (father’s) heart was still beating. Later when I went there we found out that he had passed away,” says the son.

The son vehemently denied claims that the patient was taken to Hyderabad against the advice of health officials in Kalaburagi. “This is absolutely false. They forced us to take him to Hyderabad. Sunrise Hospital President forced us. If they had told us to go to GEMS we would have gone. I did not know there was an isolated ward there. From 4 am to 2 pm, we kept going around Hyderabad. The patient was struggling for water. I hold the health department here responsible. They did not inform us properly, that is why my father died,” said the son.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute)

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