Updated: May 9, 2020 1:36:11 pm
The number of coronavirus casualties reported by Lok Nayak Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and the Delhi and Jhajjar centres of AIIMS stands at 116, according to data from these hospitals and confirmed by their officials to The Indian Express.
This is higher than the Delhi government’s official Covid-19 death toll, which stood at 66 until Thursday night. According to the Delhi government’s daily bulletin, a total of 33 deaths have been recorded from these specific hospitals.
When contacted, a Delhi government spokesperson said: “There is an audit committee of doctors that investigates every death incident reported by Covid hospitals and ensures that every death is reported. There’s no interference of any kind in the work of this committee… Every single fact is being presented before the public correctly and transparently.”
While RML Hospital has recorded 52 deaths of patients who tested positive for Covid, the Delhi government’s health bulletin until Thursday night recorded 26 deaths from here.
Asked about the discrepancy, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr Minakshi Bharadwaj, said: “We are regularly giving our data to the Delhi government. We don’t know why incorrect data is reflected. Even the total number of Covid-19 positive cases is incorrect. We have informed them many times but the number is still not corrected.”
At the AIIMS Delhi and Jhajjar campuses — the latter also has patients from the Capital — 14 people have died, Dr D K Sharma, Medical Superintendent of AIIMS, said. The Delhi government health bulletin puts the AIIMS figure at two.
Asked whether the data has been shared with the Delhi government, he said: “We are giving them the complete data, but I think they might be taking only Delhi data. They might be saying that Jhajjar data is different, whereas Jhajjar is our campus. It may be located in Haryana but the patients have been transferred from Delhi.”
Lok Nayak Hospital, a dedicated Covid facility, has reported 47 deaths of patients with coronavirus. The Delhi government bulletin says five Covid positive patients have died in the hospital so far.
Dr J C Passey, Medical Director of the hospital, told The Indian Express: “The total number of deaths reported in my hospital due to Covid positive patients is 47.”
Lady Hardinge, which, according to the health department, hasn’t reported a single death so far, confirmed that three deaths of coronavirus patients have been reported in the last one month, according to Medical Director Dr N N Mathur.
With 5,980 cases and 66 deaths, as per the Delhi government bulletin until Thursday night, the mortality rate in the national capital stood at 1.1%. On Friday, the Capital reported two more coronavirus deaths.
The Indian Express sent messages to Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Health Secretary Padmini Singhla and Director General of Health Services Dr Nutan Mundeja asking about the discrepancies. Their response was awaited.
Earlier in the day, when asked about Opposition claims that Delhi was under-reporting Covid figures, Jain told reporters: “There is no question of hiding any data by the Delhi government because if someone tests positive, it should not be hidden. Once the reports come, the hospitals have to inform the government. On Thursday, 448 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported from Delhi, which was an all-time high. If we wanted to hide the numbers, then we would have said 48 cases and not 448. If we wanted to hide, we could have said zero positive cases in a day.”
When contacted, a Delhi government spokesperson said: “It is unfortunate such politically motivated false allegations are being made when the entire government is fighting corona. Every single fact is being presented before the public correctly and transparently. For instance, in the last few days the number of cases in Delhi have increased. We reported the same correctly. If we had to fudge the figures, we could have fudged those figures also. We have increased the number of tests in Delhi, which has led to an increase in the cases being reported. Therefore our intentions are honest.”
On April 20, the Delhi government had formed a three-member committee to conduct an audit of all Covid-19 deaths in the city. “The responsibility of the committee would be to audit daily each and every death in which the Covid-19 test is positive in government and private hospitals before releasing data. All government and private hospitals are directed to report all such deaths to the committee along with the copy of case sheet for death audit,” an order from the health department stated.
The committee has so far conducted an audit of 38 deaths in the city, one of the members of the committee said, adding: “The role of the committee is to find out the primary cause of deaths in people who have also been declared Covid positive. The case sheets are provided by the health department and based on that we verify the reason for the deaths. We receive only those cases who are Covid positive. There might be some cases in which the primary cause of death is not Covid-19. They might be Covid positive but the primary cause may be due to a co-morbid condition.”
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