Another Covid-19 Victim's Family Files Police Complaint, Alleges Medical Negligence in Ernakulam Hospital

Neethu Reghukumar
·3-min read

Amid an ongoing row over alleged medical negligence in a Ernakulam hospital, brother of another patient, who died due to Covid-19 in July, on Wednesday filed a police complaint against the authorities of the same hospital for showing "medical negligence" towards the patient.

In his complaint, Gaznafar, brother of deceased Baihakki, said, "On the day Baihakki died, the family was informed that he will be shifted to ventilator at 12 noon but he was shifted only by 5.15pm. There was delay in shifting a critical patient to ventilator."

Similarly, a few days back, the family of Harris, a Covid-19 patient who died in July, had also filed a police complaint, alleging negligence by the authorities of the same Kalamassery Government Medical College Hospital in Ernakulam, which led to the death of the patient.

The kin of the deceased requested the police to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter and register a murder case against the accused and take stringent action.

The issue came to fore after a WhatsApp audio clip allegedly by a nursing officer of the same Ernakulam hospital was sent by her to fellow staff members was leaked in which she purportedly mentioned about the lapses by the nursing staff of Kalamassery Government Medical College Hospital, which has led to the death of a patient on July 20 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

In the audio, the nursing officer purportedly heard saying, "One patient Harris died since the ventilator tubes were not properly connected." "The doctors have not reveled this information out to protect the nurses," as per the audio.

The hospital rejected the allegations, saying the patient had died of heart attack. Addressing a press conference, the hospital authorities said the modern ICU facility of the hospital is functioning under the supervision of the senior doctors and specialists in various disciplines.

However, Dr Najma, a junior doctor from the same hospital, has come forward and backed the claims by the nursing officer over the lapses in medical facility. "I have not seen the patient named Harris or met him. But later, the doctor on duty for Harris and I were sharing our various experiences and he shared about this incident. When the doctor went to the patient, the tube was away. The tube meant to connect the patient's non-invasive mask to the ventilator was off the mask," said Dr Najma.

"I have seen instances of delay in changing ventilators after a complaint was received. I did not give a written official complaint. But I had mentioned verbally that there have been lapses. Subsequent to which, there have been attempts to correct this," she further said.

On the matter of Harris' death, a statement issued by the hospital claimed, "Haris was not on a mechanical ventilator but NIV ventilator and their oxygen tubes will not come out. The patient was very critical and was Covid-19 positive when he died." The statement also mentioned that Dr Najma was not on ICU duty on the particular day.

Meanwhile, Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja has ordered an inquiry into the allegations of medical negligence at the Ernakulum hospital.