Vikash Sharma

Berhampur: Dead bodies deprived of last rites to patients shunned by hospitals and ambulances - the COVID-19 pandemic, which ought to have fostered empathy, in turn seems to have begotten stigma & negligence fuelled by unfounded paranoia & unawareness. It won't be a mistake to say that the healthcare system in Ganjam district has betrayed its people after a 23-year-old pregnant woman died allegedly due to negligence at a COVID hospital last week.

The family members of deceased Sonali Rana of Haladiapadar area had initially shifted her to MKCG hospital on July 21. Sonali was pregnant and suffering from high blood pressure as well. The doctors asked Sonali’s husband to arrange for some units of blood and shifted her to a COVID-19 hospital at Sitalapalli.

“After conducting a blood test at MKCG, the doctors told that my sister was COVID-19 positive and sent her to the dedicated facility at Sitalpalli. When we had asked for the report, the authorities told us it will come after a couple of days,” said deceased Sonali’s brother, Sudhanshu Rana.

Sudhanshu further stated that his sister died without getting proper treatment at the COVID-19 hospital despite the fact she was pregnant.

“My sister was shifted to COVID hospital in a critical condition. The authorities there told us that the patient was well and suddenly informed about her death a day later. When we asked whether her body would be handed over to us or not, the authorities told that it will done only after conducting a test,” said Sudhanshu adding that if the authorities did not have information whether the patient was COVID positive or not, why they had shifted her to the dedicated hospital.

One more woman from Chhatrapur, Rinki Gaud, is stated to be another episode in the litany of negligence. Rinki allegedly delivered a child after writhing in labour pain for nearly one and a half hours at MKCG Medical College and Hospital. Rinki’s husband stated that neither the doctors nor nurses attended her at the hospital.

“Only after the delivery, they separated the umbilical cord after I requested doctors and nurses. Later, they sent my wife and child to the COVID hospital,” alleged Rinki’s husband.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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