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Thursday, June 04, 2020

Negative, positive, negative: Dubai NRI’s 3 reports in 8 days put question mark on testing in Punjab

Sikander, who works as a driver in Dubai and had returned home on March 1 via Amritsar airport, was one of the patients in Moga whose coronavirus testing report was goofed-up by lab at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital (GGSMCH), Faridkot.

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana | Updated: May 8, 2020 5:07:17 pm
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Five days after an ambulance and a team of health workers reached village Manuke Gill of Nihal Singh Wala in Moga to pick up Sikander Singh as a “coronavirus positive patient”, the vehicle entered the village again Thursday, this time to drop him back.

A poster declaring that he is under home quarantine for next 21 days was pasted outside his home but the 34-year-old is now a relieved man. “Mere layi taan eh panj din ikk saal varge sigey. Enni tension. Ehda kiddan eh reports gadbad kar sakde han (Five days in isolation ward at Moga Civil Hospital were like one year for me. So much tension. How can they goof-up on reports like this),” he asked.

Sikander, who works as a driver in Dubai and had returned home on March 1 via Amritsar airport, was one of the patients in Moga whose coronavirus testing report was goofed-up by lab at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital (GGSMCH), Faridkot.

Since April 30, he remained entangled in a game of “negative” and “positive” and on Thursday, after eight days of confusion, he was finally discharged from Civil Hopsital’s isolation ward after his final sample again tested negative. None of three differing results were communicated to him. Till Thursday late, he did not even have copies of his test reports and is still relying on words of doctors.

His final sample was sent to PGIMER, Chandigarh, which again returned negative.

“I had returned from Dubai on March 1. On suggestion of my village doctor, I voluntarily got myself tested on April 29. I got to know that my first result came negative on April 30, but I wasn’t give any written proof of it. Then suddenly on May 2, an ambulance arrived at village and picked me up. The team just said that I have to be kept in isolation for 14 days. They did not tell me that I have tested positive. I got to know via media that reports were goofed-up and my “result changed” from negative to positive. I was kept at isolation ward for five days. Those five days were like a punishment because my entire family and village was in tension. Then my sample was taken again and now last night (Wednesday), doctors said I am okay and will be discharged. Till now, I have not been given written copies of any of three reports. How can they do such blunders with reports and do not even communicate results clearly to patients,” he asked.

Back home Sikander’s family, including parents,wife and two sons aged five and one, were in tension. Their samples were also taken. So were of his neighbours. “Though I did not step out of home since lockdown and never had any symptom, the entire village was in tension. There was panic and fear. My family did not sleep properly for five days,” said Sikander.

“I have been working in Dubai for 13 years and never before I faced a hassle like this. I was treated nicely by the staff at the hospital but they never answered clearly if I was positive or negative. There was always an ambiguity and secrecy on my reports,” he said.

On Thursday, a team of health workers, a policeman and a doctor dropped Sikander home. “I am still maintaining a distance from my family and will be living in a separate room for next 21 days. But my children are happy now,” he says, with a relief in his voice.

The ambiguity in Moga still continues over reports of four Nanded pilgrims, including a 29-year old from Baghapurana and his three family members, who were first declared negative, then positive and are admitted at isolation ward.

“We are not being told anything clearly,” the man said. His 1-year old son’s sample was also taken again Thursday. The child’s earlier report had returned positive.

Meanwhile Moga health authorities, including civil surgeon Dr Andesh Kang and district epidemiologist Dr Naresh Kumar, refused to answer any queries. Civil surgeon Dr Andesh Kang said, “There have been orders by deputy commissioner Moga that none from health department will speak to media and only he will brief the journalists.”

Despite repeated attempts, Moga deputy commissioner Sandeep Hans did not respond to the calls.

A senior doctor, however, confirmed to The Indian Express that Sikander was discharged from isolation after he tested negative in latest report. This happened after earlier reports were goofed up by Faridkot lab declaring him negative and then positive.

 

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