A video of a pile of corpses placed on the ground at Theni Medical College Hospital in Tamil Nadu went viral on social media, following which the hospital and district administration placed a temporary staff member under suspension on Wednesday. The video shows the corpses of people who died due to the coronavirus lying on the ground in a pile and reports stated that a few families were permitted inside the mortuary to take back their deceased family member without any supervision and in violation of COVID-19 norms. After the video was widely shared on social media, revenue and senior health officials ordered a probe on Wednesday.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the incident came to light after Baladhandapani (47) of Nallakaruppanpatti, near Periyakulam was admitted to Periyakulam Government Hospital with symptoms of the novel coronavirus. However, his health started to deteriorate and he was transferred to the Theni Government Medical College and Hospital. The patient was provided with oxygen support but his health did not improve and he succumbed to the disease on Monday. Following this, staff members in the hospital allegedly wrapped his body in a plastic sheet and placed it on the floor of the mortuary along with other bodies.
When Baladhandapani’s family members reached the mortuary, his relatives said that staff members reportedly allowed one of the family members to enter and take the body with them, The Hindu reported. However, this was a clear violation of the standard operating procedure as the bodies of the people declared dead due to COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 deaths should be cremated by civic authorities by following protocol and not family members.
In an explanation, the Dean of the Medical College, Balajinathan apologised for the incident and said that the gate to the mortuary has been locked down. He added that security personnel would guard the mortuary round the clock and that a departmental action will be initiated against the staff members.