The body of a 27-year-old tuberculosis patient who had tested positive for Covid-19 was found in a toilet in TB Hospital, Sewri, 14 days after he went missing.
The body had gone unnoticed for 14 days even though the block toilets are supposed to be regularly cleaned and were being used by other patients. The BMC has ordered a high-level inquiry and issued notice to at least 40 hospital staffers who worked in the ward.
The body was so badly decomposed that initially, the hospital could not identify the gender of the person. They looked into their records and found a 27-year-old patient, named Suryabhan Yadav, missing from the same ward since October 4. “We had filed a missing report then. But it is common for TB patients to go absconding from hospital,” said Superintendent Dr Lalitkumar Anande.
Yadav had come to the hospital with a positive Covid-19 positive on September 30, after being referred by a medical official in Goregaon. A doctor from the hospital said Yadav did not give his proper address while getting admitted. The hospital has 11 Covid positive patients. Yadav was kept on the first-floor ward for male patients. It is suspected that on October 4 he went to the toilet and collapsed due to breathlessness.
Hospital management said no patient or staffer complained of a foul smell until October 18 when a ward boy realised one of the three locked cubicles was stinking. He climbed in the next cubicle to look over the wall and found a lifeless form on the toilet floor. The hospital then informed police and sent the body to KEM hospital for a post-mortem, they said.
When asked why no staff member discovered the locked cubicle while cleaning, Anande said, “The toilets are cleaned thrice in a day. Sometimes it is occupied by patients so the cleaner goes away. But patients use those toilets regularly, and should have smelt the body. We have issued notices to all staffers on duty in ward,” Anande said.
One of the doctor’s at the hospital said the staff is apprehensive of entering the Covid-care ward. When a missing report was filed, a police official said they also refrained from entering the ward or checking the toilets as it was a Covid ward.
Dr Harish Pathak, head of forensic department at KEM hospital, said Yadav died due to natural causes.
Senior police inspector Sunil Sohoni of RAK Marg police station said, “We will call hospital staffers for questioning to understand how this happened. We initiated an investigation to determine if there is any foul play.”
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