The Health Minister said that they were giving patients phone and internet facilities to keep in touch with families, and not for recording videos.

Eatala Rajender
Coronavirus Coronavirus Monday, June 29, 2020 - 17:21

Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender on Monday took a defensive stance and criticized COVID-19 patients who have been sharing videos of alleged negligence and poor facilities in government hospitals. 

The Health Minister was referring to deceased COVID-19 patient P Ravi Kumar who had recorded a video about the alleged negligence at the state-run Chest Hospital. Ravi was allegedly turned away from several hospitals in Hyderabad as he had fever and was showing COVID-19 symptoms.

Addressing his father in the video, Ravi said, “Though I told them that I can't breathe, they removed the ventilator. It's been three hours, daddy. It's like my heart has stopped beating. Bye, daddy, bye. Bye everyone.” The video was widely reported and the video too went viral.

Responding to this, Eatala Rajender said, “These days, there are a lot of allegations of negligence in government hospitals in social media. We are providing internet facilities and cell phones to the patients so that they can interact with their families. Because unlike other patients they can't have family members by their side, we are providing cell phones and the internet to them, but some people are misusing this to record videos. We have cured thousands of people, but some people are complaining about not being provided oxygen, doctors not attending, not being provided ventilators. This is all false.” 

Eatala added that Ravi Kumar had been provided oxygen support for 24 hours. “The need for ventilators will be decided by the doctor. The person who died had a heart problem; it wasn’t because of a lung issue.”

Further, in a strange appeal to the media against reporting such issues, the Minister said that the government hospitals have cured thousands of patients but this incident of highlighting one patient's death, who has a history of other ailments, is affecting the morale of government doctors, Eatala said.

Ravi Kumar was admitted on June 24, and succumbed two days later. 

According to authorities at the Government Chest Institute, Ravi had cardiac complications. His death was not directly related to the coronavirus infection, Chest Hospital Superintendent, Mahaboob Khan had reportedly said.

Dismissing allegations of medical negligence, Mahaboob added that the patient would continue to have breathlessness if issues related to heart are involved, and asserted that oxygen was given to him.

In a heartbreaking video, Ravi Kumar’s father Venkatesh had asked the authorities, “Did they remove oxygen because another patient needed it or because they thought his life was not worth it?”

Previously also, several patients shot had videos and alleged poor infrastructure, lack of staff in isolation wards etc. at government hospitals in Telangana. Recently, Manoj, a journalist who succumbed to COVID-19 had also complained of medical negligence at Gandhi Hospital. His brother, Sainath, who also tested coronavirus positive, and availed treatment in the same hospital, shared a video detailing the alleged negligence. A police case has also been registered in this regard.

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