From now on, COVID-19 patients being admitted to hospitals in Kerala will be allowed to have bystanders present along with them. Till now patients had to stay in isolation at the hospital apart from hospital staff tending to them, and no relatives or bystanders were allowed with the patient.
Kerala health minister KK Shailaja said on Monday that instructions are given to hospital superintendents that for the patients who require more care, bystanders should be allowed. She also said that it is the superintendent's duty to ensure the care of the patients.
Bystanders will be permitted based on the condition of the patient and requirement for help. A patient's relative can stay as a bystander, but should be a healthy person. The bystander will have to give this in a written undertaking. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits will also be given to bystanders.
Recently, relatives of a COVID-19 patient from Thiruvananthapuram had alleged that he was neglected and was not taken care of at the ward by the hospital staff. When he was brought home, maggots were found on his body.
Anil Kumar was admitted in Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital in the last week of August after he suffered a fall, and was paralysed. He tested positive for the novel coronavirus after two weeks of staying in the hospital. Following this, his relatives, who were in hospital to take care of him were also sent into quarantine, and Anil was shifted to a COVID-19 ward.
According to relatives, he was neglected by the staff and his condition turned worse after he was discharged. Though the health department had taken action against a few staff, there were protests by doctors asking to withdraw the disciplinary action. Doctors alleged that the hospital was understaffed. Following protests, the suspended senior doctor Aruna was taken back in service.
Watch: Kerala medicos protest against the suspension of Dr Aruna