COVID-19 patients in the Government General Hospital in Kozhikode, popularly known as the Beach Hospital, have alleged that they are not being served adequate food and that even the food being served, is being given in utensils which are handled in unhygienic conditions. A group of patients put out videos showing utensils being handled in toilets, amid leftover food waste. Following this, a section of patients on Sunday held a protest by coming out of their respective wards and confronting the hospital staff, asking questions about the unhygienic conditions.
One of the videos shows a toilet in the hospital, where a bucket and a large basket are being kept beside the commode. Though it can be seen that something has been stacked inside the bucket, which has dirty, brown water, the contents are not entirely visible. In the video, patients allege that plates used to serve food for them are what is stacked inside the buckets, along with leftover food. Just outside the toilet, on the side wall, bundles of plastic covers and stacks of unused paper glasses can be seen strewn around. Patients alleged that these glasses are used for giving them tea.
â€śAfter bringing the food from the canteen, they are handling the utensils here. This will be contaminated with bacteria,â€ť one of the patients says in the video. Speaking to TNM, one of the patients said that they discovered the unhygienic conditions when a few of them came out of their ward, as food was not supplied on time.
â€śSince the past few days, many patients have been raising complaints about inadequate food being served in an untimely manner. On Sunday, since we did not receive evening tea despite it being around 6 pm, some of us decided to take a look outside. It was then that we saw that these plates and vessels used to serve food are being handled inside the toilet along with piled up food waste. Though these toilets are not being used by anyone, how can we eat this food if things are handled this way,â€ť says the 48-year-old Kozhikode resident.
Watch video from the hospital
He also alleged that many patients, especially those with diabetes, are finding it difficult as food was not being served on time. â€śThere are old people here and people with diabetes. For them timely food and adequate quantity is very important. There is no medicine against COVID-19. The only thing we can do is to boost our immunity is eat healthy food, but how can we do that here?â€ť he asks.
In the videos of the protest, patients can be seen confronting health workers clad in personal protective equipment (PPE) kits. â€śWe donâ€™t have any complaints with the treatment we receive here. It is about the food...you please come and look,â€ť one of the patients is seen saying to the hospital staff.
Some of them alleged that one of the patients was denied extra curry when asked and that it was later seen dumped as garbage inside the toilet. According to the patients, after they raised the complaint, officials cleared the utensils from the toilet.
â€śAfter we confronted them yesterday they cleared the toilet and on Monday, we got food on time,â€ť one of the patients told TNM.