Srinagar: A 54-year-old man died at SMHS Hospital of Covid-19 on Tuesday, becoming the third casualty of the deadly virus in Jammu and Kashmir.
A resident of Gund Jahangir village in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the deceased was admitted to SMHS Hospital on Monday after complaining of breathlessness at home, Medical Superintendant of SMHS Dr Nazir Choudhary said.
He said the man died at about 10 pm on Monday night, even before the report of his samples confirming him as Covid-19 positive arrived.
He was among 16 patients whose test reports came positive on Tuesday, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in J&K to 125.
“The patient died in the isolation ward of the hospital due to sudden respiratory arrest,” Dr Choudhary said.
The patient was received at the Medical Emergency of SMHS hospital on Monday afternoon. “When he reached SMHS hospital, the doctors in the medical emergency suspected him of having Covid-19. They admitted him immediately to the isolation ward and sent his swab samples to Chest Diseases Hospital for tests. The samples were detected positive almost 14 hours after his death,” Dr Choudhary said.
Nodal Officer for Covid-19 at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, Dr Salim Khan told Kashmir Reader that the patient had no travel history nor was there any record of him being in contact with a positive patient.
“We tested him only on the basis of suspicion, otherwise we would have missed him,” he said.
The family of the deceased said he had many underlying ailments including diabetes and hypertension. However, they accused the hospital administration of negligence.
“After admitting him, they abandoned him. No doctor came forward to attend him,” his brother-in-law alleged.
He said the hospital also delayed his test report and left the family in distress for almost 20 hours.
“After his death, we were waiting outside the hospital for the officials to respond. We suffered immensely the whole night and during the day out in the rain,” he said.
According to his son, no one among the staff was willing to touch the body.
“We were forced to shift him ourselves to the mortuary after wearing protective gear. They also delayed his burial because employees designated for the job refused to pack the body in a coffin,” he said.
Dr Choudhary refuted these allegations and said that the staff worked according to protocol. “We cannot risk other patients and hospital staff. That is why we work as per the protocol, which takes time. After his death we immediately informed the district administration and the health authorities concerned about it. They arranged everything and informed the authorities in Bandipora, a process which took time to execute,” he explained.
As per the government’s media bulletin issued on Tuesday, of 1,900 samples sent for testing so far, 1,763 had tested negative while 125 had tested positive, including 118 active positive, 4 recoveries and 3 deaths, while 12 reports are awaited.
In Jammu and Kashmir 37,713 travelers and persons in contact with suspected positive cases have been put under surveillance while 9,209 were sent to home quarantine (including facilities operated government).
“At least 118 have been admitted to the hospital isolation, 567 sent to hospital quarantine, 20,735 put under home surveillance while 7,084 have already completed their 28 days surveillance period,” the government said.
The government appealed to people to stay indoors, strictly implement social distancing measures, disclose recent travel history to COVID-19 affected countries a report any contact with positive cases voluntarily.