Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja ordered an investigation after two patients committed suicide within a span of eight hours inside the dedicated Covid-19 ward at the Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram Wednesday. The Principal Secretary (Health) has been directed to carry out a probe and submit a report at the earliest.
Around 11:30 am, nurses found a resident of Anadu in Thiruvananthapuram district hanging by a rope inside the Covid-19 isolation ward. Though hospital staff brought him down and admitted him to the intensive care unit, he lost his life.
The 33-year-old, who was detected with the virus on May 31, had recovered and was due for discharge. On Tuesday, he had escaped unnoticed from the isolation ward, boarded a state transport bus and headed home. The locals, upon discovering him, informed the police and health officials who brought him back to the hospital. Subsequently, a team of mental health professionals had provided him counselling and guidance. On Wednesday morning, he reportedly committed suicide when the nurses were busy preparing medicines for him upon discharge. The suicide victim is believed to have had alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Later in the day, a resident of Nedumangad in the district reportedly committed suicide inside the same ward by hanging himself. The 38-year-old had been admitted to the hospital Wednesday morning on the suspicion of Covid. His samples have been sent for testing.
A statement from the office of the health minister said the two incidents are extremely unfortunate. If there are lapses, strict action will be taken, it said.
Calls to both the district medical officer and the Medical College superintendent for a response went unanswered.
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