An elderly COVID-19 patient’s family in Kerala has raised serious allegations of medical negligence against the Thrissur Medical College Hospital - a government run institution. Kadangode-native Kunjubheevi, who tested positive for coronavirus, was found tied to a bed in the hospital. Her family has alleged that she had fallen down from the bed at one point and wounded her head while attempting to get up.
On October 18, Kunjubheevi, her daughter-in-law and grandchildren tested positive for the virus and was shifted to a COVID-19 First Line Treatment Centre (CFLCT) in Kothanalloor. On October 20, Kunjubheevi was shifted to the Medical College Hospital after doctors at the CFLTC detected high blood pressure in her.
However, visuals from the Medical College, aired on Media One show a fatigued elderly woman with blood clots under her eyes lying on the floor of a hospital. Instead of using arm restraints, she is tied to the bed with the help of cotton threads and left without medical supervision. There were no handrails on the bed that Kunjubheevi could hold on to. According to her son-in-law Farshan Fazal, the visuals were recorded from the phone of another COVID-19 patient in the same ward and shown to Kunjubheevi’s daughter-in-law, who came to look after her.
“We had initially requested that the daughter-in-law too be sent with her to the Medical College since Kunjubheevi is elderly. However, the hospital authorities were reluctant to do so,” says the patients’ son-in-law to MediaOne.
When asked if Kunjubheevi had any other medical issues, her nephew Farook told TNM, “She is 66 years old and has no other complaints - either physical or mental - apart from diabetes. She was perfectly healthy. When she was admitted to the hospital, she was slightly disoriented. We have no idea why she was tied up the way she was in the hospital. If the patient in the opposite bed had not take a visuals and showed in to her daughter-in-law, we would not have been aware of her plight."
A letter written to the District Medical Officer, the Health Minister and the Medical College also stated that the “patient was disoriented while being admitted and no proper safety measures were taken by the hospital staff and the doctors.” The patient's plight was highlighted when she fell from the bed and sustained injuries on her head and teeth. According to her kin, her teeth are a little shaky and the wound on her head needed 7 stitches. Blood was clotting under her eyes and other parts of her face too, her son-in-law told TNM.
Her family has moved her from the Thrissur Medical College hospital and admitted her to a private hospital in Thrissur. Her son lives abroad and it is her son-in-law who has now filed complaints with the Health Minister and the District Medical Officer, Medical College Superintendent and Principal. DMO has forwarded the letter to the Medical College officials and the District Collector.
The patient’s family also confirmed that Kunjubheevi’s health condition was now stable. “On Wednesday we received the video and that night itself we tried to admit her to a hospital. I did not get in touch with the hospital authorities back then. Our first priority was to save our mother. We complained and then only shifted her from there. She would have died if we had not shifted her from there,” Kunjubheevi’s son-in-law said.
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