Hyderabad hospital declares woman Covid-19 free then says she died of it
A 55-year-old woman from Hyderabad’s old city area was declared dead due to Covid-19 on Sunday night, three days after her death at Osmania General Hospital (OGH), where she was first declared negative for the virus due to alleged mix up of test reports.
The body of Begum Jani, a widow from Sadatnagar in Yakutpura area, was shown to her family members on Monday, before it was laid to rest by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation authorities, who handle the last rites of Covid-19 patients.
Begum’s daughter Nishat told Hindustan Times that her mother had been suffering from inflammation in her jaw due to removal of a tooth. “On the morning of June 18 she was admitted to the OGH where doctors said she had developed an infection. But by late in the night, we got a call from the hospital that she had passed away,” Nishat said.
The family members were told that Begum Jani had tested negative for Covid-19 but when they went to the hospital the following morning, they were told that there was some mistake in the test report, as there was another patient of the same name in the hospital who got admitted June 17.
The hospital authorities told Begum Jani’s family members that the sample from her body was sent for testing again and till the receipt of the report, her body would be kept in the mortuary.
“For the three days, we were made to run around the hospital for the test report and finally, on Sunday night, we were told she had tested positive. As such, the body would not be given to the family members but would be buried as per Covid-19 rules,” Nishat said.
The issue was brought to light on Monday by Mohd Amjadullah Khan, president of Majlis-e-Bachao-Tehreek who tweeted about the mix up of reports in the OGH.
He said because of such mistakes there was every possibility that Covid-19 negative patients were disposed of by the GHMC authorities, while bodies Covid-19 positive patients were handed over to the relatives for last rites which was dangerous.
OGH superintendent Dr B Nagender said such incidents rarely happen due to miscommunication and were addressed as soon as they were brought to the notice of the hospital authorities.
“We come across some patients with the same name, coming from the same area for testing. When test reports are obtained from the lab at Osmania Medical College, sometimes, test reports of one patient might have been given to the family members of another patient due to miscommunication as the names sound similar,” he said.
Nagender, however, said enough care would be taken while handing over the bodies to the relatives, which would be done only after cross-checking the telephone numbers, Aadhar cards and other details.
He acknowledged that there was delay in obtaining test reports from the lab and attributed it to the growing number of cases in Hyderabad. “We are making the best efforts to get the results as early as possible,” the OGH superintendent said.
A similar mistake took place at the OGH on Sunday, too, when family members of a woman who was under treatment at the hospital were told that she had died due to Covid-19, though they were told a day before that she was recovering fast and was healthy.
When the family members reached the hospital, they saw that Meherunissa was present in her ward and they lodged a complaint with the police. During the inquiry, it was revealed that another patient by the same name died due to Covid-19 and the hospital staff called up the family members of the other patient who was recovering. The hospital authorities apologised to the family.