Congress MP Hibi Eden wrote a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the issue and attached the audio clip which has triggered a row.

The entrance of the Ernakulam Medical College with trees on either sideErnakulam Medical College / Courtesy - Shady59/ Wiki Commons/ CC BY-SA 4.0
news Controversy Monday, October 19, 2020 - 12:47

Improper handling of ventilator tubes has allegedly resulted in the death of a patient in Ernakulam Medical College, it was revealed in a voice message purported to be that of a nursing officer. Congress Member of Parliament (MP) from Ernakulam, Hibi Eden, sent a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to bring the incident to his attention, asking for immediate action.

“The ending of this audio clip is shocking and scary. It mentions the improper methods of caring for critical patients. It reveals that a patient called Harris died while he was moved from the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) to a ward, due to the fault of the staff. It also says that doctors have protected them, without letting it out that it's the staff's fault,” MP Hibi’s letter states.

He also attached the leaked audio clip, in which the nursing officer is apparently asking the staff to take precautions before the visit of a team from the Union government to the hospital so that everything is in order. Asking the staff to ensure that emergency equipment is functioning, proper cleaning is done by sanitation workers, bedridden patients are checked for bedsores, she comes to the crucial point of oxygen masks and ventilator tubes on patients. The nursing officer is heard saying that patients have died because of the fault of the staff in not checking ventilator tubes.

Hibi Eden writes that "If it is indeed a voice clipping of the Nursing Officer of Ernakulam Medical College, these are serious lapses happening there." Pointing out that everyone in the district depends on the Medical College for COVID-19 treatment, the MP said that with such incidents, the fight against the pandemic would be affected. He requested the CM to take immediate action.

After a preliminary probe, the nursing officer has been suspended, said a note from the Health Department. However it is not clear on what basis the suspension has been come Further investigation is being done by Director of Medical Education, who has been asked to submit a report as soon as possible. The medical college meanwhile has denied the allegations in the voice note.  “No such deaths have occurred at the medical college. I haven’t heard the voice message. But I had talked to the nursing officer. She said she exaggerated the negligence so as to make the staff more vigilant,” Dr Pater Vazhayil, medical superintenden of the Government Medical College, Ernakulam told ToI.

Also read: ‘Was cautioning other states’: KK Shailaja on Harsh Vardhan’s COVID-19 remark