LG kept ‘uninformed’ about corona patient, who died when he was referred from ASCOMS to GMC Jammu in critical condition without intubation
Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory, Manoj Sinha was quick enough to act on the complaints regarding infrastructural problems in hospitals, but he was apparently kept uninformed about the deaths caused due to ‘medical negligence’ on the part of doctors and administration.
Taking cognizance of the complaints from the general public regarding various issues including, the shortage of oxygen in Government Medical College and Hospital (GMC&H) Jammu, Manoj Sinha paid a surprise visit to the hospital and took stock of the Medicare services extended to Covid and other patients.
During the visit, Sinha took a round of different medical units and enquired about the availability of necessary equipment and other facilities required for patient care. He directed the concerned officers to rationalize the resources and resolve the prevalent issues. He also said that ‘senior doctors should attend to Covid patients’.
“LG has shown timely response to the complaints, but it appears that the battery of bureaucrats flanking him were insensitive to the intermittent protests occurring in Jammu due to medical negligence,” said a senior doctor wishing anonymity, adding that these bureaucrats keep LG uninformed about such untoward episodes.
He shared that due to medical negligence on the part of administration at one of the designated COVID Hospitals in Jammu city, a Corona positive patient, who happened to be policeman, died when he was referred in critical condition to another hospital without intubation.
“Lieutenant Governor was not told about the death of a policeman, who died of medical negligence,” said doctor, adding, “A policeman, namely Mushtaq Ahmed, 44, posted in Jammu city was hospitalized in ASCOMS Sidhra on 12-08-2020 and was referred to Government Medical College and Hospital Jammu.”
He stated that when condition of the policeman got deteriorated, sensing trouble, the hospital management of ASCOMS shifted him in critical condition to another referral hospital of same status, rather than shifting him for advanced treatment outside the J&K.
“The patient was shifted in an ordinary ambulance to GMC&H Jammu, wherein the doctors on duty declared him as brought dead in the isolation ward. Administration and doctors at ASCOMS neither put the cop on ventilator nor intubated him while referring him to another hospital,” he said and added that in this regard Epidemiologist, Dr ADS Manhas has written to the Director Health Services Jammu, confirming that the death of policeman was due to ‘medical negligence’.
Dr Manhas wrote, “From the details provided by the Nodal Officer, GMC Jammu, it is quite apparent that there was delay in referring patient from ASCOMS to GMC Jammu,” he added that the prima facie requires enquiry as to why there was delay in referring the critical patient from ASCOMS to GMC Jammu.
He has also raised questions about the need of referring patient from one designated referral hospital to another referral hospital and why critical patient was not intubated before shifting to GMC Jammu.
A copy of the letter was duly sent to Financial Commissioner Health Atal Dulloo; and Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Sanjeev Verma, but none of the bureaucrats brought this matter into the knowledge of Lieutenant Governor, despite flanking him (Sinha) on surprise raids.
“Lieutenant Governor could have taken cognizance of the matter had it been brought into his knowledge, but none of the bureaucrats, especially financial commissioner health paid any heed to such negligence, which claim lives,” said a senior doctor, adding that had LG been informed about these incidents, he would have directed administration and doctors to be more meticulous and accountable.
However, death of policeman has infuriated some doctors of GMC&H Jammu, who have expressed anger over non-seriousness of the ASCOMS. “The management of ASCOMS was more concerned over their profit and reputation. There is no logic behind shifting a critically sick patient from one referral hospital to another designated referral hospital that too without intubation”, said a senior doctor, adding that if the patient was not responding the treatment there, the management of should have referred the patient in a Critical Care Ambulance and that too within time.
This is not the first case of medical negligence, few months back; the death of a 24-year-old woman had triggered protest in the Karan Bagh area, with protesters demanding constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the lapses and negligence on the part of doctors.
The administration, to pacify the protesters had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
According to family members, the deceased, Kuljeet Kour, had delivered a baby 10 days ago and was admitted to the GMC&H after developing breathing problems.
“She was tested negative for the virus and shifted to Ward No. 7 of the hospital. She had some breathing problem. She was normal until she was administered an injection by doctors that led to the deterioration of her condition and she collapsed within 10 minutes. Thereafter, the doctors declared her Covid positive,” the wailing mother of the victim alleged.
The protesters alleged that the doctors treating the victim fled the hospital and took her medical record with them. “We repeatedly asked the hospital administration for the medical record of the patient, but they did not show us the file,” they said.
Meanwhile, wretched with the unaccountability and indiscipline in the hospital, principal of GMC&H Dr Digra had recently written a two-page letter to Manoj Sinha opting for a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) because of the interference in working of the hospital by ‘extra-institutional officials’.
When contacted Director Health, Dr Renu Sharma said that during that period she was self-isolated.
“ASCOMS doesn’t come under my jurisdiction and I cannot take action against the management. I am not in charge of associated hospitals,” said Director Health, Dr Renu, adding that she is not sure but would have forwarded it as per directions.