'Ventilator not connected,' doctor makes startling revelations over Harris' death

'Ventilator not connected,' doctor makes startling revelations over Harris' death
Dr Najma

Kochi: A doctor has made startling revelations over the death of a COVID-19 patient, C K Harris, at the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) at Kalamassery in Ernakulam.

"Though the face mask was on, the ventilator was not connected. The duty doctor had told me about this," Dr Najma of the medical college told Manorama News.

"The senior doctors were informed. However, they said not to make an issue out of it. I myself have had similar experiences," she added.

A controversy erupted over Harris' death after the nursing officer, Jalaja Devi, of the medical college posted a voice message that said his ventilator tubes were not properly placed. Soon after, the health department suspended the nursing officer. Health Minister K K Shailaja also ordered for a probe by the Medical Education Director into the incident.

However, Dr Najma said that it was wrong to initiate disciplinary action against the nursing officer, who revealed the incident.

"The doctors, who did not report the issue, are also guilty. Those responsible for the incident should be punished," she said. "I might also face action for speaking out," she added.

Family files police complaint

Meanwhile, the family has filed a complaint to the police, seeking a probe into the incident. They have alleged that Harris died due to the negligence of the medical college staff, while stating that the nursing officer's audio clip corroborated this.

They have demanded that a case be filed and murder charges slapped against those responsible for the death.

The relatives also said that they were asked to buy an expensive equipment, while Harris was under treatment at the hospital. But that this was not used. The money for the equipment was later reimbursed to the relatives.

Harris' sisters said that they would meet the Chief Minister, Health Minister and Collector, for setting up an expert committee to probe the death.

Voice message not true, says medical college authorities

Medical college principal Dr V Satheesh and medical superintendent Dr Peter P Vazhayil have said that the matters relating to Harris' death mentioned in the voice message were not true.

They also pointed out the nursing officer’s explanation that she had sent out the audio clip to ensure that the staff remained vigilant and that the problems mentioned did not exist in reality.

“Harris was critically ill. Such a patient would not be shifted to the ward. Statements in the voice message are unscientific. Harris had been put on the NIV ventilator and there is no chance of the ventilator tube getting dislocated,” they added.

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