18 Sep 2020: Gujarat: Hospital staff thrashes coronavirus-patient, family alleges beating killed him
The bereaved family of one Prabhashankar Paatil has alleged that he died due to staff's beating at a government-run hospital in Gujarat's Rajkot, and not due to coronavirus, after a video of the horrifying episode surfaced.
In the 55-second video of September 9, a paramedic was purportedly seen pinning Paatil, shouting at him, while the latter pleaded to be let go.
Here's what happened.
Dates: Paatil was admitted on September 8, died days later
Paatil, reported to be 38 years old, was admitted to the state-run PDU Hospital on September 8, after he underwent kidney surgery at the Giriraj Multispecialty Hospital. He had tested positive for coronavirus.
A day later, the patient was reportedly thrashed by a handful of hospital staff.
On September 12, Paatil, who hails from Maharashtra's Jalgoan district, passed away, reports IE.
Assault: Staff overpowered Paatil, he pleaded for help
In the disturbing clip, a PPE-wearing staff member put Paatil on the ground, by placing his knee on his chest, while his colleagues held the patient's hands.
One of the guards, who held a baton, was also present at the spot.
At one point during the assault, one staff member furiously asked Paatil, "Didn't I tell you not to do it?"
Fact: Coronavirus won't do anything, a female staffer allegedly told Paatil
When he tried to escape, the baton-wielding guard stopped him. Another paramedic slapped Paatil, who cried uttering, "Corona... Corona," in a bid to stop the horror. At this point, a female staffer told Paatil, "Nothing will happen to you due to corona."
Statement: After video gained limelight, authorities tried to allay criticism
After the clip was extensively aired by local TV channels, Jayanti Ravi, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) rushed for damage control, giving a clean-chit of sorts to the reckless staff.
Saying Paatil suffered from acute delirium, Ravi added, "He had no orientation. He was running around and had taken off his clothes. He even tried to throttle another patient."
Defense: Paatil suffered from hypertension, claimed hospital
The hospital's Medical Superintendent Dr. Pankaj Buch also sided with the staff.
"I wish to inform you that the said patient was coronavirus positive, and additionally had ailments of diabetes and hypertension," Dr. Buch said.
At the time the video was shot, Paatil had a "bout of hysteria," started running around, and tried removing the intravenous tube, Dr. Buch claimed.
Fact: Contradicting video proof, hospital said no one "thrashed" Paatil
"In order to ensure that he didn't topple over ventilators of other patients, our staff handled him properly.... In the video also, you must have noticed that no one has beaten him," Dr. Buch said in a video statement.
Statement: Separately, family said Paatil never had any mental illness
Denying the hospital's theory, Paatil's younger brother Vilas told the daily that the deceased didn't have a history of mental illness. Since Paatil was admitted to the government hospital, the family wasn't able to talk to him, he added.
Vilas also said they were told on September 12 morning that he was keeping well, but by evening they received a call about his demise.
Fact: Saw black spots on brother's face: Vilas
"He didn't die due to coronavirus but due to beating. His body was taken to Ramnathpara crematorium and I saw that he was wearing the same shirt. I also noticed black spots on his face," Vilas said, adding that he would approach the police.