Updated: April 3, 2020 10:34:31 am
A three-day-old boy on Wednesday tested positive for COVID-19, suspected to have caught the virus from the bed occupied by an infected patient before it was allotted to his mother at Sai hospital in Mumbai. While the mother has also tested positive, the boy is the state’s youngest COVID-19 patient.
The newborn was delivered at the Chembur-based hospital on March 26. On Tuesday, the mother and son were shifted to Kurla Bhabha hospital and later to Kasturba Hospital. The family claimed no paediatrician had visited the baby and the mother at Kasturba Hospital – the nodal centre for COVID-19 cases in Mumbai – since they had been admitted there.
The baby’s father, a restaurant manager, told The Indian Express that he had specially booked a twin-sharing room for his wife at Sai hospital to avoid risk of contracting infection. “I was concerned about COVID-19. So, we booked an entire room. Two hours after delivery, the staff asked us to vacate the room and moved us to another bed. They did not tell us why. The next day, a doctor called and asked us to get tested for the virus,” the 32 year old said.
He added that he had been billed extra for the delivery, as very few doctors were available to perform a caesarean surgery on his wife.
On March 27, the couple gave nasal swabs for COVID-19 test to a private laboratory that sent a representative to the hospital to collect the same. The hospital had advised them to get in touch with the lab.
The 26-year-old mother and the newborn tested positive. “Since March 27, no nurse or doctor visited my wife and son at Sai hospital. They completely abandoned us,” the father said. On March 31, BMC asked the hospital to shut down.
Ward officer Prithviraj Chauhan said the hospital was shut to undertake sanitisation. “We had to disinfect all the surfaces,” he added.
The mother and son were first transferred to Kurla Bhabha hospital. By Tuesday night, they were moved to Kasturba Hospital. But the ordeal did not end. Even at Kasturba Hospital, no paediatrician has visited the baby till now, alleged the father. “I am worried, he is our first born,” he added.
A hospital employee said the mother and child have been given only symptomatic treatment. The hospital is currently treating over 120 COVID-19 patients. Despite repeated attempts, Sai hospital officials did not respond to calls.
Asked whether the mother could have been infected before she gave birth and was the source of the baby’s infection, Dr Tanu Singhal, paediatric expert in infectious diseases at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, said this could not be ruled out.
But the family claimed they were at home for 10 days due to the lockdown and the mother had shown no symptoms.
“The infection is prevalent everywhere. In a hospital, standard protocol is to disinfect a bed after it is vacated by a patient. This protocol, called terminal cleaning, is not just for coronavirus, this should be followed always,” Signal said.
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