Family plans legal action after COVID patient dies in Ernakulam MCH

Family plans legal action after COVID patient dies in Ernakulam MCH
The Ernakulam Government Medical College Hospital

Kochi: The death of a patient, C K Harris, who was undergoing treatment in the COVID intensive care unit of the Ernakulam Government Medical College and Hospital has become controversial after his relatives decided to take legal action on the basis of a voice message that said his ventilator tubes were found removed.

The voice message about the ventilator tubes was posted by the nursing officer of the medical college in the WhatsApp group of the hospital. The message said that the patient died while he was on his way to recovery and that those responsible for the mistake had escaped because the doctors had not released information about what caused his death.

The message mainly has instructions for subordinates about the precautions to be taken during the visit of a central team to the hospital. It is towards the end of this message that the alleged cause of the death is mentioned. The message also says that many such errors occur at the hospital and they should be avoided.

This is what the voice message says: “Doctors who went for supervision reported that the oxygen masks of many patients were found removed. Those in the ICU should make sure that the ventilator tubes are fixed properly. Many patients have lost their lives because of small errors on our part. Doctors have reported this. But it has not been seen as our fault and no disciplinary action has been taken. That’s because we work hard.”

The hospital authorities had held an online meeting to discuss matters that require urgent attention before the central team’s arrival. The voice message explains that it is intended to share the decisions that were taken in the meeting.

This is murder: Relatives

Relatives have been suspecting negligence in the death of Harris, his relative H Anwar told Manorama. His death is a murder that was caused because of the mistake of hospital authorities, he said. The family has decided to take legal action.

“The voice message was posted on the WhatsApp group of the hospital’s head nurses. This was passed on to the staff nurses. The message was posted on WhatsApp because it was a holiday. There was no fault on the employees’ part in the patient's death,” nursing officer Jalaja Devi said.

Meanwhile, state Health Minister K K Shailaja has ordered a probe into the incident. The probe will be head by the Medical Education Director of the state.

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