A 26-year-old swimming coach at a Delhi government facility in Central Delhi’s Jhandewalan died after testing positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, two days before his birthday and four months into his marriage.
Ashutosh Gupta’s family Sunday alleged negligence on the part of Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC), claiming he was not given timely treatment and the family was asked to help wrap his body in protective covering after he died.
His brother Ankit (20) said Ashutosh had won medals in many swimming competitions over the past five years and supported the family financially. “He was admitted in the ‘orange zone’ of the hospital and died a few hours after the test results came out. I was with him in the ward throughout, along with my mother and cousin. After he died, the hospital sent one of their attendants to wrap the body, who took my help to lift and move it,” said Ankit.
Hospital medical director Dr N N Mathur said he has initiated an inquiry into the allegations and is taking the matter seriously. He also said the ‘orange zone’ of the hospital is where patients suspected of having coronavirus, and awaiting test results, are kept.
“This patient was young and obese. He was admitted at 2 am on June 17 and died within 12 hours of admission. After the report was received as positive… the patient was planned to be shifted to Covid emergency but collapsed prior to shifting,” said Dr Mathur.
He added that the body should have been put in a bag inside the ward as per protocol, and the hospital is finding out how the body was handled after death.
The eldest of three siblings, Ashutosh was about to turn 27 on June 19 and got married in February. His wife and 47-year-old mother are awaiting their Covid test results.
Ankit said no one from the family has developed any symptoms. Ashutosh had developed a fever and was taken to the LHMC after June 10 midnight, where he was tested and asked to home isolate.
“He had problems breathing so we arranged for an oxygen machine for him. On June 14, we were told by the hospital that the Covid report had been misplaced. We then got him tested at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and they shared the result on June 17,” said Ankit.
Dr Mathur said Covid reports are collected from sampling centres and in the past, they have sometimes been taken by the wrong person. “From the past four-five days, results are now coming out on the same date of the test and patients can access them on the RT-PCR application. So these things (misplacement) should not happen now,” he said.
Ankit said he watched his brother die at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon after he began foaming at the mouth. The family hoped they would be provided some compensation as Ashutosh was the main earning member of the family.
Ashutosh’s father Rajendra Prasad Gupta worked as a security guard at a school for the blind near Connaught Place before the lockdown, but is presently out of work. Ankit is preparing for an exam to enter the Delhi Police. “He used to support us all at home, now we don’t know what will happen,” said Ankit.