Days after a photo of a body of a Covid-19 patient being carried in an autorickshaw with the head and legs protruding from the vehicle drew criticism on social media, the medical superintendent of the Nizamabad Government Hospital in Telangana resigned from his post on Monday.
Dr Nageshwara Rao told The Indian Express that he felt morally responsible for the incident. “It weighed on conscience and I was feeling guilty. I cannot continue as the Superintendent in that frame of mind. I will continue to work as a Professor in the Orthopaedic Department,” he said.
Sources in the hospital said that Dr Rao was also unhappy that facilities at the hospital were not being augmented to handle the pandemic.
On July 10, the photo of the autorickshaw taking the body to a graveyard went viral on social media. Nizamabad district officials and medical officials of the government hospitals were blamed for negligence in disposal of dead bodies, and Director of Medical Education Dr Ramesh Reddy had ordered an inquiry.
The inquiry did not blame Rao, finding that the relatives of the deceased decided to not wait for an ambulance to take the dead body to the graveyard.
“On that day, there were three Covid-19 deaths at the hospital and the two ambulances we have had already gone out to the graveyard with dead bodies. Following procedure, workers wrapped this body in sheets and it was kept near the mortuary and the relatives were told to wait till the ambulance arrived. They said they didn’t want to wait for 1-2 hours till the ambulance came and decided to take the body in their own autorickshaw. The hospital officials sent one employee with them so that the body is properly cremated,” an official said.
Dr Rao was also asked by the Director of Medical Education Dr Ramesh Reddy to file a police complaint against the mortuary officials who allowed the family members to take away the body, but he refused, saying the relatives had pressurised the officials to release the body.
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