A 76-year-old COVID-19 positive man died on a wheelchair at Tripurasundari District Hospital in front of his son while waiting for oxygen support on Sunday, July 26, reported The Indian Express.
Shyamalendu Bhowmik, who used to visit hospitals for the treatment of kidney and cardiac problems, had developed a temperature a few days back. While the family continued medication at home, his son, Amitabha Bhowmik, took him to the district hospital on Sunday morning, after he started experiencing serious respiratory problems.
At the hospital, the two underwent mandatory rapid antigen tests. After both their tests returned positive, they were allegedly kept waiting on a wheelchair for over an hour by the authorities, while arranging for an oxygen cylinder and the ambulance to take them to Agartala. However, Shyamalendu passed away on the wheelchair.
"We took him to the hospital just for oxygen support this time, around 10:30 in the morning since he was having trouble breathing. They kept us waiting for over an hour on a wheelchair and he died," Amitabha, who is now admitted at a COVID Care Centre in Chandrapur area of Gomati district, told the media. He further claimed that both of them did not have COVID-19 and the reports were false.
"They said they would refer us to Govind Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital in Agartala and delayed one hour during which Baba died. After that, they wasted another one hour for setting up protocol for dispatching the body," he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Niru Mohan Jamatia, Gomati district Chief Medical Officer (CMO), claimed that Shyamalendu died within 15 minutes of testing positive.
"They came to the hospital at 11:30 AM and we conducted the test, issued refer order, asked ambulance to be ready. He had co-morbidities of chronic kidney diseases. The patient expired in a matter of 15 minutes," he claimed. He added that when the patient came, there were others in the ICU and he could not be given a bed right away.
After waiting for two hours, Amitabha's mother, sister, and wife accompanied the body to Agartala where Shyamalendu's last rites were performed at the Battala crematorium by a medical team.
While Dr Jamatia added that there was some delay in processing the patient, he said that it was due to precautions of packing the body in leak-proof body bag, decontamination, PPEs for ambulance driver, nurses as per government guidelines.
"This was the first COVID-19 death in our district. It is very difficult to counsel people to help in handling the deceased. Sweeping staff didn't want to process it and no ambulance agreed to transport it to Agartala," he said.