A tragedy has struck a family in Lingadahalli village in Chikkamagaluru district. In a matter of a week, the Covid-19 has killed the happiness and hopes of a 60-year old man and a newly-married woman with the deaths of their dearest ones due to the deadly pandemic.
What exactly happened
On 18 July, asthma patient Rudranamma, aged 60, and her husband Mahesh, aged 68 got admitted to the COVID Hospital in Chikkamagaluru district after discovering symptoms. Three days later, it was confirmed that they were hit by the contagious disease and three members (Lokesh, his wife, and brother Sathish) from the family was put on home quarantine although they did not have any symptoms, little less they knew about the fate's cruel plans ahead.
On 22 July, Rudranamma died in the hospital a day after her report was out, while her husband battled against the pandemic. On the other side, Lokesh, his wife, and Sathish continued their home isolation without showing any symptoms.
According to their relatives, on Saturday night, 25 July, Lokesh faced breathing issues and called the medical officer, but there was no response. On Sunday morning, the situation turned worse and the neighbour's sought the private doctor's help who advised Lokesh to be shifted to the hospital immediately.
The deceased brother tells that they got the ambulance after much struggle, but the patient died just hours after taking him to the hospital with the Covid-19 report pending to be given by the concerned officials.
Newly-married woman turns widow in a month
Lokesh, aged 37, had tied the knot just a month ago and his passing away has come as an unbearable loss to the family which was yet to recover from the death of Rudranamma.
However, Lokesh's wife and his brother have tested negative. The father's condition has improved and yet to be discharged from the hospital.
Family blames hospital negligence for death
Rischith, a relative of the deceased, spoke to the International Business Times, India, and expressed his anguish against the district administration over the preparedness of handling the situation.
"The Covid-19 reports were given after his death, seven days since he took the test. If test reports were given early and he was admitted to the hospital little early, maybe he would have been alive now. This apart, the concerned authorities did not monitor the people in home quarantine on regular basis and the health officials who visited the place lacked basic testing equipment. Further, they did not ensure the safe disposal of masks and gloves. The officials are supposed to be available 24/7 for the primary contacts of Covid-19 patients and if the doctor had responded on time, a precious life might have been saved.
Handling the situation in a village is different from the cities. The government should realise it and take necessary action to prevent such deaths."
District Health Officer's response
Dr SN Umesh, District Health Officer (DHO), Chikkamagaluru, has denied the allegations of negligence. "We had taken samples on 21 July after which they were under home quarantine. Our health workers had regularly monitored their conditions and he was alright till Saturday night. On Sunday, he was shifted to the Covid hospital in Chikkamagaluru after he complained of breathing-related issues. He had lesser levels of oxygen saturation and breathed his last in the hospital."
The DHO says that the primary contacts of the Covid-19 positive patients are given the contact numbers of Asha worker, health worker and the doctor. "They responded as soon as they received a call from the deceased's family," he adds, stating that medicines will not be given unless people show symptoms.
The officer states that the delay in the Covid-19 reports since there were no clinical microbiology laboratories in the district and they send the samples to the Hassan Medical College.
Covid-19 cases rising in Chikkamagaluru
In Chikkamagaluru, 26 new cases were reported on Monday, 27 July. The total number of Covid-19 cases in the district stands at 705 with 309 active cases and 19 deaths. As per the DHO, the hospital in the district has 2,750 beds.