A 50-year-old COVID-19 positive patient who escaped from the isolation ward in New Civil Hospital (NCH), Surat, on Tuesday night was found dead near the postmortem room on the hospital premises on Thursday.
Salabatpura police said the man, from Mann Darwaja area, which is a hotspot, tested positive for coronavirus on April 21 and was admitted to the hospital the same day. Police said he was missing his family during his stay in the hospital and escaped from the isolation ward Tuesday late night. Police and SMC authorities launched a search but could not find him.
On Wednesday evening, passers-by spotted an unidentified body near the postmortem room of NCH and informed the medical officers on duty. Hospital authorities took swab samples for tests. On Thursday, when the reports came, he was coronavirus positive.
Suspecting it might be the missing patient, the authorities called his wife and daughter who were quarantined at the Samras Centre, and they identified him as the man who went missing on Tuesday.
Salabatpura police inspector MV Kikani said, “We formed different teams and were searching for the missing patient but could not locate him. Our teams searched till late in the night.”
NCH Medical Superintendent Dr Preeti Kapadia said, “We have set up a two-member committee of Resident Medical Officer and matron to find out who is responsible for negligence when the patient escaped from the ward. Generally, we don’t do postmortem of COVID-19 positive patient. There was no external injuries or sign of poison consumption. We have reported the death as due to COVID-19.”
The man was cremated according to protocol at the Lambe Hanuman Road crematorium. Following the incident, NCH authorities decided to give colour coded uniform to COVID-19 patients.
She said the area from where his body was found has ben sanitised. “We have decided to give colour-coded uniforms to COVID-19 patients undergoing treatment at NCH. Earlier we would stamp the patients, but the ink fades away after a few days.”
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