A woman who was told that her husband died of COVID-19 at a government-run hospital in Hyderabad last month, has knocked on the doors of the Telangana High Court, seeking his whereabouts. Alampally Madhavi filed a habeas corpus petition, pleading to the court to direct the state government to clarify her doubts.
The court, which took up the hearing on Thursday, asked the government to clarify if her husband Madhusudhan died of COVD-19 and if yes why her family members were not informed about his death. The hearing was adjourned to Friday.
Madhavi, who along with her two daughters had tested positive for COVID-19, was discharged from Gandhi Hospital on May 16.
When she enquired about her husband, the hospital authorities first informed her that he died of COVID-19 but during the time of her discharge, changed their claim and said that he was alive.
When she tweeted to Telangana Cabinet minister KT Rama Rao on May 20 that her husband who was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 went missing from Gandhi Hospital, they said that he was already cremated and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) performed the last rites.
Gandhi Hospital Superintendent M. Raja Rao responded to the tweet with a statement that Madhusudhan (42) was admitted to the hospital on April 30 with positive diagnosis of coronavirus, his condition was serious due to bilateral pneumonia with ARDS, and he expired on May 1.
The hospital superintendent said as per the procedure, the body was handed over to police and since nobody from the family came forward to receive the body, the police handed over the same to GHMC for cremation. Madhavi alleged that she was not intimated by authorities about the cremation and said that no one from her family was approached by officials.
Madhusudhan, an employee in a rice mill, took ill on April 27 and was admitted to King Koti Government Hospital for screening. His father too had died of COVID-19 a day ago. Since Madhusudhan tested positive, he was shifted to Gandhi Hospital, the designated facility for treating COVID-19 patients.
After his death, his family members were also quarantined and since they too tested positive, they were admitted to Gandhi hospital.
She disputed the claim by hospital authorities that the family was informed about his death. "Let them show the evidence to whom they had informed and from whom they had obtained consent for performing the last rites", she said.
She demanded that the authorities show proof of his death and funeral. "I enquired about my husband and they said he expired on May 1 and was cremated. I insisted on proof in the form of photographs or videos, but they had nothing," said the woman.
"My daughters too believe that their father is alive. We will believe he is no more only if the hospital shows us some evidence," said Madhavi.