A 50-year-old doctor and his 45-year-old wife died, one day apart, at the capital’s RML Hospital earlier this month. Their son has claimed hospital authorities shifted them to an ICU ward just hours before their death since his mother’s earlier COVID-19 test, conducted on April 28 at GB Pant Hospital, was negative while his father did not show symptoms. RML hospital records show that a day after their deaths, their COVID-19 test was conducted and reports of both came back positive.
The couple had been staying at a society at Rohini with their two sons, aged 17 and 20, for the last 10 years. While the man used to practice at a private clinic in Jahangirpuri, his wife used to teach at a local MCD school. Both had underlying health conditions – the doctor had recovered from a brain tumour in 2011 while his wife was diabetic, family members said.
The day their father died was also the 17-year-old’s birthday. The brothers last saw their parents in body bags at a local crematorium. They have also been tested for the virus. “Our aunt came from Ghaziabad to be with us. The wait for our test results is nerve wracking,” said the elder son.
On April 22, the woman’s health deteriorated and she was taken to Ambedkar hospital. “Doctors first said she might be having a heart attack. She was transferred to GB Pant hospital, where they too suspected a heart-related issue but also said she may be a suspected coronavirus case,” her elder son said.
The woman was kept under observation for four days. In the meantime, her husband said he was feeling unwell. The woman’s COVID-19 test report came negative on April 28 and her discharge summary showed she had suffered from chest pain, loose motions, vomiting, and breathlessness.
After she returned home on May 1, her condition worsened overnight and she was taken to RML hospital. Her husband’s health also took a turn for the worse and he was admitted to the same hospital on May 3.
“I tried to get my father admitted to the ICU. But hospital staff kept saying he did not display any symptoms of the virus. He was unconscious on a stretcher, while my mother was shifted to an ICU ward around two-three hours before she died. I ran with my parents’ previous medical history across departments, pleading to send them to the ICU. It was all too late by then,” he said.
While the man died at 10.15 pm on May 3, the woman died at 6.15 pm on May 4. RML spokesperson Smriti Tiwari refused to comment on the allegations.
As news of the couple’s death spread, members of the society where they lived collected around Rs 1 lakh for the sons. Sudheer Nath, a resident, said, “It was very unfortunate to lose both their parents, so we tried to collect some money for them. Some residents are scared because the entire society has not been sanitised. The Aarogya Setu application shows we are safe in our location even though two people died of the virus.”
Their son acknowledged that while some residents came forward to help, there were also some now viewing the family with suspicion. “I got angry calls from people thinking we suppressed information about the virus. My father has not visited his clinic since the lockdown. I just collected my parents’ ashes and that got me thinking – will I have to run around for their death certificates during the lockdown?”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines