Div Com seeks explanation from Medical Superintendent, HOD SKIMS Bemina; Family denies hiding travel history      

Inquiry ordered into first COVID-19 death 

Div Com seeks explanation from Medical Superintendent, HOD SKIMS Bemina; Family denies hiding travel history      

Srinagar:  Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir P K Pole has ordered an inquiry into the alleged mishandling of the patient, who died on Thursday due to Coronavirus in a hospital after being tested positive for the disease two days ago.

Meanwhile, the family members of the 65-year-old Covoravirus patient, who became the first casualty of the infection in Kashmir, alleged that they had to run from pillar to post to get the patient tested for COVID-19. “It is quite unfortunate that we are being victimized for hiding the travel history which is absolutely baseless allegation,” they said.

An order issued by the Divisional Commissioner reveals that there was alleged negligence on part of authorities at SKIMS Bemina and the administration has asked the Medical Superintendent and HOD of the hospital to explain their position.

“Principal SKIMS Medical College-Hospital Bemina vide his communication No. SKIMS-MC-PS/2020/399 dated: 25-03-2020 has submitted a report indicating therein that a 65-year-old patient, name withheld, who reported to Casualty of SKIMS Medical College Hospital Bemina on 21-03-2020 at 0830 hrs alongwith his travel history was found to be a COVID-19 suspect, ” reads the order by the Div Com.

The report revealed that the patient who was later tested positive for COVID-19 had not been handled as per the protocol required for treating such patients. “The report further reveals that knowing the travel history of the patient and observing the symptoms of the patient, the Hospital Administration has not brought it into the notice of Divisional/District/Police authorities when he left the hospital without getting admitted, ” reads the order.

The patient, it says, was given ample time to spread the virus by intermingling with the public and relatives. “The negligence at the hands of Hospital Administration has resulted in a lot of confusion and vulnerability amongst masses,” it said.

“Medical Superintendent SKIMS Bemina and Head of the Department, Chest Medicine SKIMS Bemina are hereby called to explain their position forthwith,” the order added.

It said that Tassaduq Hussain Mir Additional Commissioner Kashmir shall enquire into the matter for exemplary action against these officers under rules. “The report should reach my office within two days,” it added.

Reacting to allegations about the patient not revealing his travel history,  Zafar Ahmad Anim, who is a nephew of the deceased, said, “It is quite unfortunate that we are being victimized for hiding the travel history which is absolutely baseless allegation. Let me be very clear he did not hide any international travel.”

Giving details, Anim, who himself is a doctor, said,  “On March 18, I had a discussion on phone with the senior specialist of SKIMS about the patient and revealed his travel history, his advice was medication and isolation although I was of the opinion to screen the patient  in view of travel history but was refused.”

So, he said he kept the patient in quarantine and managed at home. “As the patient was not improving we took him to JVC on March 21 and again revealed the travel history and on the basis of travel history and symptoms he was referred to SKIMS for Covid-19 screening. So we took him to Covid-19 clinic where we again revealed the travel history in detail and resident doctor discussed the case with the seniors who advised home quarantine and medication although I requested them to screen him for Covid-19 but was refused in view of no international travel(as was the guidelines that time),” he said.

Anim said he then met the senior doctor in SKIMS, and requested him to screen the patient but was again refused because the patient did not have international travel. However, he said ‘the doctor offered admission or asked us to manage at home in view of corona problem in hospital’.

“So I took a decision to manage at home but his health condition was deteriorating. So I again called the senior specialist on March 22 morning when he advised me to take him to JVC as they were busy with corona drill,” he said.

“I was absolutely helpless so I took him to SMHS hospital where again I revealed the travel history, so on the basis of travel history they suspected Covid-19 and the resident had a discussion with his senior consultant about the symptoms and travel history which is all documented and was referred to CD hospital,” he said.

“I am very thankful to CD hospital where he was urgently admitted and kept in isolation and screening for Covid-19 done the same day. He was most pious person in our family. Today morning patient passed away leaving the family devastated in this helpless situation,” he said.

“It is my humble request to all to pray for the departed soul,” he added.