A Mumbai-based doctor approached the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court against a private hospital in Aurangabad on Monday, alleging that her father was not tested or treated for Covid-19 despite showing symptoms leading to his death last month.
The petition filed by 36-year-old Sonal Kadam says that her father Vaman Doiphode (63), a resident of Aurangabad, was admitted to Seth Nandlal Dhoot Hospital on July 8 after he suffered a fall the previous day at his residence. He was advised surgery for a fracture he had suffered.
Kadam, who lives in Mumbai, travelled to Aurangabad to attend to him along with her husband. The petition claims that despite her father showing difficulty in breathing and oxygen saturation levels below 86 per cent, the hospital authorities went ahead with the surgery on July 10 claiming that the problems were due to old age and fracture pain. After the surgery, the breathing difficulty persisted and the hospital conducted a CT scan to understand the cause. The petition claims that the doctors told them that water had accumulated in his chest, causing breathing difficulty.
The petition claimed that having served at the Covid hospital in Bandra-Kurla Complex for a month, the petitioner insisted that the symptoms her father was showing could be Covid-19 and hence a test should be conducted. Kadam has said that her father was discharged from the hospital on July 14 without the test being conducted.
“It is pertinent to note that as a matter of procedure and need of the emergent situation, the treating doctors should have conducted a Covid test of the patient undergoing surgery to ensure the best treatment to be followed and avoid any risk of infection to the treating staff and spread of coronavirus in hospital premises,” the petition claims. “The petitioner lost her father due to not following the elementary procedure and timely detection of Covid despite the patient remaining in the hospital for several days for an elective surgery,” it says.
Chief administrator of Dhoot Hospital, Himanshu Gupta, said that all procedures were followed in the treatment of Doiphode. “Since the surgery was to be performed immediately and awaiting 24-36 hours for a Covid-19 test report was not advisable, so a CT scan was done. The doctors had not found any symptoms to show that it was Covid-19 and hence the surgery was done,” he told The Indian Express. He added that the discharge, too, was as per procedure and that the hospital authorities had subsequently learnt that the patient had died due to Covid-19 after being discharged from the hospital. Gupta said that after it was informed that Doiphode had passed away due to Covid-19, all high-risk contacts including 15 doctors across departments who had treated him and other patients were screened and not found to be infected.
After Doiphode’s discharge, his family sought a second opinion and she was told that the symptoms shown by her father were that of Covid-19. Kadam has said in her petition that there were no private laboratories ready to conduct a home test and the nearest dedicated Covid-19 hospital also told her that no testing was available. She then took her father to a rapid antigen test facility where those entering the city were being tested. The test showed him to be positive for Covid-19 following which he was taken to a hospital on July 17. Kadam claims in her petition that when the ambulance staff refused to touch her father, she herself assisted her father eventually. He, however, passed away on July 21. As her rapid antigen test had shown her to be negative, she left for the city with her husband, but fell ill in Pune and a test conducted there showed her to be positive.
The petition states that when she wrote to local health and civic officials regarding the incident, she did not receive a response. “Despite making several complaints to the authorities concerned, no action is taken till today,” the plea states, naming civic and health authorities as respondents too.
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