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Kashmir: Several attend funeral of pregnant woman, test report now positive for coronavirus

Her family, living in a red zone of the district, are yet to be tested for coronavirus.

Written by Naveed Iqbal | Srinagar | Updated: April 27, 2020 9:30:16 pm
kashmir coronavirus death kashmir covid 19 deaths, kashmir covid 19 cases, pregnanat woman covid 19 death, indian express The family “was instructed to take the body and bury it without the customary ablution, since her test reports were awaited”. (Representational/File)

Two days after a 32-year-old pregnant woman died in the Maternity and Child Hospital at Anantnag, the administration has begun tracing her contacts in her native village in the Kokernag area. The patient’s test reports for COVID-19 came back positive on Monday, a day after her death at the hospital on Sunday.

However, her body was returned to her family and several people from the village attended the funeral for her and her two stillborns.

Her family, living in a red zone of the district, are yet to be tested for coronavirus. Meanwhile, the health staff at the maternity hospital held a protest on Monday, demanding protective equipment and the moving of the facility from its currently overcrowded building.

While the family has alleged negligence on part of the hospital in the handling of the patient, hospital authorities said that it was a case of Intra Uterine Deaths (IUD) and the foetuses had been lifeless for “many days” before the patient was brought to the hospital. She has not been listed as a COVID-19 death in the UT’s daily COVID bulletins. However, so far, about 23 of her contacts have been tracked, officials said.

“Both the foetuses had died many days before she was brought to the hospital. An enquiry is being conducted by four doctors at the maternity hospital to ascertain the exact cause of death of the patient. We conducted the Covid-19 test since she had come from a red zone,” Principal Government Medical College, (the supervising body for the hospital), Dr Showkat Jeelani, told The Indian Express.

The Medical Superintendent of the maternity hospital, Dr G Andrabi, also said that on the directions of the District’s Covid nodal officer, the family “was instructed to take the body and bury it without the customary ablution, since her test reports were awaited”.

A doctor familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “It is possible that the children died in the womb due to the effects of the virus on the mother.”

Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, Bashir Ahmad Dar said, “Enquiry is underway. On the basis of findings, action will be taken. No body will go unpunished if found involved in negligence and dereliction of duty.”

The husband of the deceased said that the hospital “first refused to accept the patient since we were from a red zone, but then, seeing her condition, agreed to admit her.” He added that they had asked for a cesarian birth since in her previous two pregnancies, the children “were stuck in the birth canal for hours and we did not want to risk the same happening again.”

He also stated that she had shown no symptoms of the virus and they declared that they were from a red zone of the district as soon as they reached the hospital. “She died within three hours of giving birth to our two dead children. While I came home after burying them, she started complaining of palpitations back at the hospital and soon passed away,” he said.

The family also said that they carried her body to the ambulance and out of it with “no assistance” from the hospital staff.

Anantnag was the last district in the valley to report a positive case, on April 17, since the number of cases have spiked to 48. The district currently has five red zones.

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