Srinagar: In a video that went viral on social media since Wednesday evening, the son of a Covid-19 patient who died at SKIMS is seen crying over the indifference of the hospital to his mother’s dead body.
The son is seen in the video making a hue and cry on the lawns of Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), demanding the body to be placed in a coffin and for help in carrying out the burial.
The son says in the video that the family members were asked to carry away the body on their own, and on a “damaged and dirty stretcher”.
“I have been asked by the hospital authorities to take the body of my mother wrapped in a polythene on our own without any help, and carry it on a stretcher which is in a shambles,” the son says in the video
He also questions the conscience of the hospital staff, saying, “The disrespect done to my mother today can be done to anyone tomorrow. We have no respect for the dead left here. Where lies our humanity?”
In the video, the son alleges that the family was made to wait for hours by the hospital authorities, who turned down repeated requests to provide help in carrying away the body for burial.
“It has been four hours that we have been waiting outside and no one is coming to our help. We requested authorities to help us with transferring the body to graveyard and assistance in carrying out the burial, but instead we have been provided with a damaged stretcher to carry the body,” the son narrates in the video.
“We are left at the mercy of Allah. We don’t have anyone around. We are being denied any help by the authorities. They’re reluctant to listen, despite our several attempts. This is total disrespect, and I won’t bear it,” he further says.
The family, belonging Elhahi Bagh area of Srinagar, can be also seen saying in the video that after witnessing the callousness of authorities at SKIMS, they approached the Mohalla committe of their area regarding the burial, but were told that it was the responsibility of the government.
“We have been denied a coffin here, and I cannot ask our mohalla committee to provide us one at this point of time. Everyone is telling us that it’s the responsibility of authorities”, the son says in the video.
On Thursday morning, SKIMS issued a detailed clarification, saying that the post-death process is done by the district administration or health authorities of the district. It added that the same has been done since March this year, when Covid-19 fatalities began to occur.
The statement said that when the patient expired, it was conveyed to the district administration and health authorities by Covid Control Room SKIMS, by the Nodal Officer, as well as by the Medical Superintendent.
“Delay in receiving the body by the officials concerned created anxiety among the patient’s attendants. It was then that the attendants started demanding coffin and four personnel for carrying out the burial,” the statement said.
Clarifying the issue of “coffin” raised by the family, it said that providing a coffin is nowhere in the protocol laid down by ICMR for handling Covid-19 dead bodies. Instead, the body has to be put in a designated bodybag and the outer surface of the bodybag has to be decontaminated by sodium hypochlorite.
‘Providing coffin is not a part of protocol, and needs people to handle the dead body, which is impossible at this point of time, when we’re witnessing huge number of deaths per day,” SKIMS said in its statement.
“Providing people for burial is not mandate of SKIMS. The mandate of SKIMS is to treat patients and give their best to attain desired results. SKIMS receives critically sick patients from all over the valley and whole UT including Ladakh,” it added.