85-year-old surgeon of SoBo hospital dies of coronavirus

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Updated on Mar 28, 2020 12:43 PM IST
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ByRupsa Chakraborty & Vijay Kumar Yadav, Mumbai

An 85-year-old senior surgeon from Saifee Hospital died of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at Hinduja Hospital in Mahim late on Thursday. At the time of going to press, civic officials were conducting a retest to confirm if the man died of Covid-19, as his sample was tested in a private lab. The civic body is also awaiting test results of the senior citizen’s son, a heart specialist who visited three prominent hospitals in Mumbai in the past few days, and grandson, both of whom had returned from the United Kingdom (UK) on March 12. The two were also admitted to Hinduja Hospital on Thursday.

According to the Airport Health Organization (AHO), the two were not screened at the airport after arrival in Mumbai as the UK was not on the list of countries requiring compulsory checking of travellers. “The UK was included in the list of universal screening on March 17,” said an officer from AHO.

The government in a statement on Friday confirmed the death of the senior doctor (who was a diabetic and had a heart ailment). “The swab sample of the patient was tested by Metropolis Diagnostics. Kasturba Hospital needs to run a confirmation test,” said a medical health officer.

Dr Daksha Shah, deputy health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said, “Until we get the second report, we can’t confirm if he tested positive for the virus.” The BMC is also waiting for the test results of a house help and two other family members.”

Meanwhile, 14 staff from Saifee Hospital have been asked to be quarantined in the hospital.

Prashant Gaikwad, C-ward officer, said, “We have identified 14 staff from Saifee, who were in close contact with the doctor. We have asked them to be quarantined for 14 days. If anyone develops any symptoms, they will be isolated in Kasturba Hospital.”

Gaikwad said all operations and admission of new patients have been prohibited for 14 days. “We have instructed the hospital to release patients, where early discharge is possible. The hospital will only cater to already admitted patients,” he said.

Meanwhile, LT Marg Police told HT that the grandson of the 85-year-old doctor had gone to England for medical studies and his father brought him back to India after the coronavirus outbreak began. “During the early hours of Friday, the deceased’s body was cremated as per the rules and in the presence of civic officials,” said a police officer, on condition of anonymity.

Police officers, who did not wish to be named, said the deceased’s 52-year-old son was a consulting doctor in Jaslok Hospital, Hinduja Hospital and Breach Candy Hospital. Civic officials have started tracing people who were in close contact with him. Hospital sources said that he performed three surgeries in the past few days.

Two drivers of the family and two watchmen of the apartment also need to be examined for Covid-19 as they were close to the family and would get food from them daily. They are under observation by the civic authority and the police.

In the meantime, Saifee Hospital is putting in place a Covid-19 policy for the hospital. Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, a bariatric surgeon from the hospital, said, “The COVID-19 response team is planning to start by tomorrow itself.”

Dr Vernon Desa, director (medical governance and clinical compliance), Saifee Hospital, in a statement said, “Maharashtra State, Health Vigilance Department, which reports directly to the chief minister, has been informed that the doctor underwent a CT SCAN and was diagnosed with Covid-19. The surgeon was transferred to the special isolation facility at PD Hinduja Hospital, where he subsequently died. All containment and surveillance measures have been implemented to ensure the safety of our staff, patients, and visitors. Saifee Hospital reiterates that the hospital is fully operational.”

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