After the bodies of two COVID-19 victims were found rotting at ESIC Hospital in Bengaluru, the Ministry of Labour on Wednesday, December 1, removed Dr Jeetendra Kumar JM, the director professor and dean of the hospital at RajajiNagar, and appointed Dr Renuka Ramaiah in his place.
According to hospital sources, a 40-year old woman and a man in his early 50s were admitted in Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Hospital with coronavirus in June 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic, and died a few days later in the following month. Since then, their bodies were kept in the mortuary as the final rites were not performed for unknown reasons.
As per COVID-19 protocol, their bodies were supposed to be cremated by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as the bodies of the victims as bodies were not given to the families at that time. The ESI hospital's old mortuary has six cold storages for storing bodies. However, during the spike in COVID-19 deaths, it had become difficult for the hospital authorities and a new mortuary had been constructed by the Karnataka government, which was inaugurated in December, 2020. As the new mortuary started functioning, these two bodies remained in freezers at the old mortuary due to negligence.
The family of the victims were misled into believing that the last rites of the bodies were performed whereas the corpses were left to rot in the morgue for over 15 months. After a section of the media reported the matter, the family came to know about the callousness of the hospital authorities. It was only on Sunday that the family came to know that the highly decomposed bodies were lying in the hospital.
The order issued by the ESIC headquarters said, "Dr Jeetendra Kumar J M, Director Professor, General Medicine, Dean, in charge in the ESIC MC&PGIMSR, Rajajinagar, Bengaluru is directed to handover the charge to Dr Renuka Ramaiah, Director Professor and report to ESIC Headquarters on December 2 positively in public interest."