62-yr-old Covid Positive Woman Dies After Allegedly Being Treated in Damp Basement of Mumbai Hospital

A 62-year-old woman passed away after a hospital, that was recently designated as a Covid centre, allegedly allotted her a bed in a damp basement as opposed to a Covid-19 ward. According to a report in Mumbai Mirror, the woman's 42-year-old son was then compelled to make arrangements for personal protective equipment (PPE) as the hospital said it did not have enough infrastructure to handle Covid-19 bodies.

The woman, who was a resident of Marol area, was taken to Hashir Hospital & ICU centre on June 3, after she said she was experiencing breathlessness. The woman's son told Mumbai mirror that after she was refused admission by all private and state-run hospitals, Hashir Hospital agreed to conduct tests and admit her till the results were in. The son said that he was being cautious as his mother had comorbidities like blood pressure-related problems and thyroid.

The son said that when his mother was being admitted, the hospital did not intimate them that she was being designated a bed at the leaky basement where there was no source of natural ventilation. He said that no nurse had visited to check the patient's condition and claimed that the hospital had put cardboard boxes to help absorb the rainwater that had seeped into the basement. He further said that his mother was made to climb a flight of stairs to go to the restroom.

According to the report, at 6:30 am on June 6, the son received a call informing him about his mother's demise and they were given a bill amounting to Rs 65,000. But exacerbating the already grim situation, he said that he had to make arrangements for a body bag and had to cover his mother's body himself.

Meanwhile, the hospital attributed the incident to its inexperience. Dr Zaid Khan, director, Hashir hospital, told Mumbai Mirror that the hospital had made arrangements for three beds in the basement in view of the shortage of beds in the city.

“Many patients have died while waiting for hospitals to admit them. We had converted our maternity hospital into a Covid ward for this sole reason," Dr Khan told Mumbai Mirror.

He added that the hospital would keep the person in the basement only for some hours and those who could walk would later be moved to the upper floors.

He also said that in the initial stages the hospital was witnessing many issues, including the rainwater leaking into the basement, but all such issues have now been resolved.

“We are not using the basement anymore. And we always informed the patients in advance about the basement facility and the lack of washroom there. Only after they agreed, did we admit them,” Dr Khan was quoted as saying by the publication.

The son, however, denied the hospital's claim and said that he would have not let his mother be admitted in a congested room given how she was already experiencing breathing problems. He said that he got to know that she was being treated in the basement much later and accused the hospital of negligence for not putting her on a ventilator despite her deteriorating health condition.

He added that even though he and his family were high-risk contacts, they were not tested for the viral infection. He said that after they received his mother's results, he rang up the BMC's control room and intimated them. The son added that the civic agency only asked him a few questions and advised that he be in self-quarantine for a period of 14 days.