In a case of neglect, a HIV positive prisoner (22), lodged in Modern Jail at Kapurthala from the last 14-months died today at local civil hospital during treatment.
Prison authorities failed to inform about the HIV status of the Sukhjinder Singh, the deceased, to civil hospital and the prisoner was reportedly treated like a normal patient and even the postmortem was also conducted by the board of directors avoiding all the mandatory precautions which could lead to infection to doctors also.
Adding further to the woes of parents of prisoner, they were forced to wait for the postmortem as Jail Authorities failed to reach hospital with the necessary documents because minister for prisons Sarwan Singh Phillaur was on the visit to Modern Jail.
Talking to HT, Surjit Singh, cousin of the deceased revealed that the deceased was a national level boxing player and was having very sound health. "He was over 90kgs when lodged in prison under NDPS act. We were never told that he was affected with AIDS. It was told to us two days back by Jail hospital authorities while informing about his ill health," he said.
"We are waiting here to get the dead body of Sukhjinder but nobody is here to listen to us. Prison authorities returned to prison after admitting him here. After repeated requests, it was told to us that prison minister was on visit and they can send an official with required documents only after the visit," he rued.
HT enquiries revealed that the prisoner was brought to civil hospital at 6.30am under serious conditions. During treatment he died at 6.55pm and the Jail authorities failed to inform the civil hospital about the HIV status of the patient, hospital doctor confirmed.
"When the patient was brought here, his stomach and lungs were filled with water. We were never informed about the HIV status. The postmortem was also done by doctors without wearing double gloves, gum-shoes and following other mandatory precautions," he said adding that, "It was a serious lapse on the behalf of prison authorities and could endanger the lives of doctors treating them."
Prison sources also confirmed that the deceased was HIV positive and was undergoing treatment at Anti Retroviral Therapy centre at civil hospital Jalandhar.
Superintendent Modern Jail, Prem Sagar, when contacted denied any willful delay in sending the documents for post mortem due to minister's visit. "It was the duty of DSP and he should have done it without any delay," Sagar said adding that, "I am also not aware about the HIV status of the patient."
Minister Prisons, Sarwan Singh Phillaur, when contacted said, "This is the serious lapse. I would probe the matter and strict action would be taken against whosoever found at fault."