A Mumbai Police constable passed away early Friday, merely hours after being discharged from a Covid Care Centre (CCC) in Worli.
The deceased, 53-year-old Deepak Hate, who was posted at Bandra police station, had been processing the return of stranded migrant workers in the locality when he tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month. Along with his three colleagues, he was shifted to a CCC at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI Dome), a facility for asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
At 8.15 pm on Thursday, Hate walked into the Worli Police Camp where he lived with his wife, a teenage son and daughter. Vishwas Avhad, who heads the camp’s Ashthavinayak Kreeda Mandal and was present when Hate returned, said that it is unclear why the constable returned on foot.
“Hate was not okay and was walking with difficulty. He told us that he was dropped in a car to a ground 1 km away from the camp and walked the rest of the way,” Avhad added.
A video shot by a local resident shows Hate’s family and neighbours greeting him with a round of applause. Avhad said Hate folded his hands in prayer at a stage in the colony and then went to his first-floor home in building 40.
“Around 1 am, I was informed that Hate was having difficulty breathing and was taken to Nair Hospital in an ambulance. Within 40 minutes, I received news that he had passed away,” said Avhad.
Doctors said it is unusual for a patient with no comorbidity and declared recovered to die within hours of discharge. Dr Neeta Varti at the NSCI Dome said that Hate was admitted with cough, and his pulse, temperature and oxygen saturation levels were checked every day. “On Thursday, he was counselled before discharge. We followed protocol. We had arranged a BEST bus, but he wanted to return home on his bike,” said Varti.
As per BMC’s discharge policy, if a patient remains asymptomatic, he can be discharged after 10 days without a test. In this case, the doctor said no Covid-19 test was required. Hate’s pulse, oxygen saturation levels, and temperature were re-checked before he was discharged. “He seemed happy to go home,” Varti said.
G South ward officer Sharad Ughade said his officers are inquiring into Hate’s death. “It seems he suffered a heart attack, but we cannot be sure how or why he suddenly died,” he said.
Apart from respiratory distress, Covid-19 patients suffer risk of heart ailment as the infection compromises heart functions. Hate was put on blood thinners to prevent this possibility. “It is one method to prevent heart attack, but it can’t guarantee total prevention,” said Dr Avinash Supe, Medical Director at Hinduja Hospital (Khar). At NSCI Dome, Varti said that most patients are put on blood thinners.
Dr Mohan Joshi, Dean of Nair hospital, said no postmortem will be conducted since Hate suffered from Covid-19. Although ICMR guidelines allow a postmortem in case of suspicious deaths, Joshi maintained they are not performing autopsies during a pandemic.
Meanwhile, 52-year-old Head Constable Jagdish Pote, who was posted at Malwani police station, passed away at a hospital in Malad on Thursday. Pote had been on sick leave since May 20 and was rushed to hospital on Thursday morning after his Covid-19 test came positive. He passed away later in the afternoon.
As of Friday, 25 police personnel in Maharashtra had died of Covid-19. A total of 2,211 personnel had tested positive and 1,216 had active infections, while 970 others had recovered.
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