An elderly patient from Kollam had been dead for five days while his son, unaware of it, had been taking food and clothing to another man.

A few nurses in white uniforms stand next to empty beds in a hospital ward all covered in white sheetsImage for representation
Coronavirus Controversy Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 09:51

An 85-year-old COVID-19 patient had been lying dead for five days in a mortuary in Thiruvananthapuram while his son, unaware that the man was no more, had been taking food and clothes to a hospital in Kollam all the while. The mix-up has triggered a controversy over the handling of COVID-19 patients in the state.

The son, a head-load worker from Kollam, had been under the impression that his father was admitted at the Government Hospital in Paripally, reports The Hindu. Not coming to know of his father's death, he had been taking food and clothing to the hospital which the latter kept accepting. It had in fact gone to another COVID-19 patient at the hospital, with the same name.

The mix-up came to light when the man was shifted to the room and the head-load worker realised that it was not his father.

The deceased man from Kollam had earlier been admitted at the taluk hospital in Punalur on August 26, and later shifted to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 after 15 days at the taluk hospital.

The Punalur hospital had informed the son that his father was shifted to Paripally, where he learnt that the patient was at the COVID treatment centre in SN College. Father and son had then met. But after this, the patient was moved to the District Hospital in Kollam and on contacting them, the son was told that he was moved back to Paripally on September 25. The Paripally hospital also wrongly informed him that the patient was admitted there but that visitors were not allowed.

Once he realised that it was another patient admitted there, he had to make several enquiries to understand that his father was moved to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. But by then, his father had passed away - he died on October 13. The hospital had recorded a wrong address but had the correct phone numbers of the family, the son said. It was only on October 18 that the body was released. The son said that he was not going to lodge a complaint.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the matter will be investigated.

Also read: 'Food utensils being handled in toilet': COVID-19 patients in Kerala hospital protest

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