Four days after a police constable’s family refused to take his body, KEM hospital finally conducted a post-mortem on Thursday to find out if he was infected with Covid-19. For the last four days, the constable’s body was kept in the mortuary of the hospital.
Constable Mangesh Kamble (47), who was posted in the Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC), lived in BDD chawl number 70 in Worli, which was just four buildings away from his office. On June 29, while getting ready for work he fainted and collapsed at home.
Neighbours and colleagues took him to KEM hospital, where he died within an hour of admission.
The hospital informed his family that as he died of cardiac arrest, his body would be handed over to them.
“However, his wife and relatives insisted on a Covid-19 test and refused to take the body. The hospital was also unwilling to test his wife Nita,” said Janhvi Bhagat from Police Patni Ekta Manch, an organisation which has wives of police personnel as members and fights for police welfare.
KEM hospital finally agreed to test his wife. Next day, her results came positive and she was shifted to a Covid care centre in Marol. She is asymptomatic. According to sources, some staff from ANC, who came in contact with Kamble’s wife the day he died, have been quarantined.
“The hospital refused to conduct the post-mortem citing ICMR guidelines, which bars post-mortem after death. But he was a frontline worker and it is important for the family to know whether he was infected or not,” said Bhagat.
According to Kamble’s wife, he was feeling weak and had lost taste. “For about 10 days, he had mild fever and was not able to taste anything. Even after Covid-19-like symptoms and my report coming positive, the hospital was not ready for a post-mortem,” Nita said in her letter to the hospital.
Local Yuva Sena leader Abhijit Patil, who helped in getting Nita’s test done, said police personnel are risking their lives and the hospital’s attitude will demoralise them.
Forty Mumbai police personnel have died of coronavirus so far.
The Maharashtra government has announced compensation of Rs 50 lakh for families of deceased police personnel and a government job for the next of kin.
Last month, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh also announced plans to have the deceased personnel recognised as martyrs. His proposal is yet to be approved by the government.
Meanwhile, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had also tweeted on the incident and demanded a Covid-19 test on Kamble.
On Thursday, he tweeted that the state government had accepted his demand on conducting post-mortem to find out the cause of death.
KEM hospital dean Hemant Deshmukh was unavailable for comment.
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