Minister Ma Subramanian cited the examples of late singer SP Balasubrahmanyam and late Congress MP H Vasantha Kumar who had tested positive for the coronavirus while being hospitalised, and tested negative at the time of their demise.

Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian wearing a white mask and speaking into a micFacebook/Ma Subramanian
news COVID-19 Friday, June 11, 2021 - 12:57

Tamil Nadu Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian has said that COVID-19 patients who later die due to complications like heart attack, breathlessness etc will not be counted as a death due to COVID-19 if they test negative for the coronavirus at the time of their demise. The Minister was responding to allegations by Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami that COVID-19 was not listed as a cause of death in death certificates, and people were losing financial compensation due to this. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Subramanian said, “We are following the ICMR guidelines.”  

He cited the examples of late singer SP Balasubrahmanyam and late Congress MP H Vasanthakumar who had tested positive for the coronavirus while being hospitalised, and tested negative at the time of their demise. Both SPB and Vasanthakumar had passed away in Chennai last year following complications due to COVID-19. 

The Minister had on Wednesday also alluded to Edappadi’s allegations stating that in certain cases, some patients get admitted to hospitals after complications like breathlessness sets in. Though they test positive initially, after treatment they turn negative but succumb to some other causes like heart attack, the Minister told reporters on Wednesday. Both these deaths (SPB and Vasantha Kumar) occurred during the AIADMK regime, the Minister said adding that Palaniswami who had been the Chief Minister should be aware that the state government follows ICMR guidelines.

As per ICMR guidelines, COVID-19 should be recorded as ‘underlying cause of death’ when it causes pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), cardiac injury among others. In cases where a patient has comorbid conditions, the cause of death is still recorded as COVID-19. In the event that a patient who presents with COVID-19 symptoms dies but tests negative for the coronavirus, the death is recorded as ‘Clinically –Epidemiologically diagnosed COVID -19’. If an individual, who has clinical symptoms, dies when the test result is awaited, the death should be recorded as ‘Suspected COVID-19’, states the ICMR guidelines. A death is recorded as ‘Probable COVID-19’ if a person, who has symptoms, dies even when the test result is inconclusive. 

(With PTI inputs)

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