The video showed a COVID-19 patient with psychiatric issues tied to the bed in the hospital.

collage of a boy sleeping on the bed in a hospital and an old patient on drops lying down on a bed
news Coronavirus Monday, July 20, 2020 - 15:44

A video recorded in Kerala shows a young boy lying down on a common bed in a hospital ward. He looks fatigued and a closer view reveals that both his feet are tied with a white thread to the edge of the hospital bed. 

The woman recording the video of the hospital ward says that the young patient has mental health issues and despite this, he has not been served any food the entire day.  “Both his hands and legs were tied. He managed to remove the binding from his hands, but could not untie his legs. Since he was tired, he just laid down on the bed,” the woman says. 

This visual which has gained traction in the state is from the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital, one of the oldest and most renowned  government hospitals in Kerala. The woman recording the video says that the visuals have been recorded inside of the Medical College hospital, ward number 14, which she alleges is in complete disarray with no health care staff, including doctors and nurses attending to the admitted patients. 

The video shows biscuit packets placed right next to the young boy on one side of the bed However, the woman says the biscuits were not given by the hospital, but were offered by other patients who saw the child struggling without food. 

“The hospital staff did not give him this. Other patients in the ward did. However, he was too tired to eat it and instead slept off,” the woman added. 

The visual then moves on to an elderly patient lying next to the young boy. This old man is on IV fluids and the woman recording the video adds that he too has not been fed anything by the hospital staff.

The woman alleges that the patient has also not been offered any treatment for the last four days, since he was admitted. 

“The patients urged the staff to put him on drips,” she adds. When the woman asks the elderly patient if he is hungry and if he wants more Intravenous Fluids, he nods his head. 

Speaking to TNM,  Dr Sharmad M S, Superintendent of the Medical College acknowledged that the videos were from the hospital, however he claims it has given a completely wrong picture.

“These were all patients with co-morbidities from a cluster in Thiruvananthapuram, mostly from a family and were placed in the same ward. The boy has psychiatric issues and he was capable of injuring himself and others. When the doctor came to administer his medicine, the staff had to tie him up. As soon as the doctor left, they untied his hands, and before they could untie his legs, they were called to attend to another patient. It is in this gap that this woman has recorded the video. The boy has no issues and is being looked after,” he claimed.

When asked about the older man in the video, the Superintendent said that he was only on IV fluids and there was anyway no question of feeding him otherwise.

“The video made allegations that the food was not good also. I have enquired about everything and believe it was made with vested interests. We are doing all that we can to help patients. Despite a large number of patients with comorbidities, we have had only two deaths in this hospital. That would not have been possible if we didn't care for our patients,” he said. He also denied that there was any shortage in staff.

With a steady rise in COVID-19 cases in Kerala, reports have emerged that several hospitals have run short of either beds or health care staff to treat and care for patients. In the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, as many as 150 doctors and nurses have been put on quarantine after three patients in the super-speciality, surgery and orthopaedic wards tested positive for the virus. Eighteen staff members of the hospital have tested positive for the virus over the last four days, after coming in contact with the three patients. 

The recent exposure to the virus which has necessitated quarantining of several health care staff has led to a paucity of doctors and nurses in the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital. Addressing the issue, the Kerala government nurses union too have now demanded that nurses be hired at the hospital temporarily. 

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