The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday said that the allegation of negligence levelled against the administration based on a viral video is untrue and baseless.
The civic body faced allegations regarding the death of a senior citizen at Azadnagar Covid Care Center in Ghatkopar in Mumbai, which a BJP MLA said was caused due to negligence of the administration.
BMC officials said: “The death of the senior citizen is an unfortunate incident and the corporation offers its condolences to the bereaved family.”
A video of an elderly person lying motionless on a bed laid out on the ground had gone viral with the local BJP MLA from the area, Ram Kadam, alleging that lack of seriousness with which BMC is working in the city.
Ram Kadam said: “People are dying because of sheer negligence of the BMC. If in a quarantine centre, no doctor comes to see elderly patients, then how will they stop the pandemic? Senior citizens in quarantine centres do not get food on time. They do not see doctors on time. I want to ask the BMC, the state government, are these quarantine centres or jails? When will the BMC and the state government get serious about the situation?”
According to BMC officials, the entire issue began on June 21. The officials said, “A Covid positive patient from Shantabhuvan Chawl in Gangawadi area of Ghatkopar (West) died on June 21. One of the deceased’s neighbour too tested positive for coronavirus.
Considering the close contact and common toilets and bathrooms in the chawl, BMC officials had requested the three neighbouring families to stay in the isolation centre in order to prevent the spread of infection.
However, only one of the three families agreed to the request, while the other two families opposed it.
The protest continued on June 22. With no cooperation despite repeated requests and explanations, the BMC administration was left with no option but to report the matter to the local police administration on June 23.
After the arrival of officials from Chiragnagar Police Station and some social workers, the families agreed to come to Covid Care Center 1 (CCC 1) at Azadnagar. A total of 11 people from the three families were brought to the isolation centre.”
According to the BMC, “Four members of the family, [the viral video is of this family], reached the isolation centre — father, mother, brother and sister. They were provided with a 1BHK flat to stay in. They underwent a preliminary examination and showed no symptoms of coronavirus. The father, a senior citizen, had an oxygen level of 97 per cent and did not have any symptoms like fever etc. The family was being provided with proper meals at the isolation centre.”
“The next day, that is on June 24, according to the BMC officials, the senior citizen father (aged approximately 72 years) said that he was feeling weak. The administration immediately called the private doctor appointed for the Covid Care Center. Upon examination, the doctor gave the senior citizen some medicines, which made him feel better. He was advised to go to Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar for further treatment and an ambulance was called. However, the family refused to go to the hospital. The senior citizen was provided with ORS again at 7 pm,” he said.
The BMC officials further said that later in the evening, they learnt that the concerned senior citizen was stuck in the toilet and the door was not opening. “The bathroom door was then broken and his unconscious body was taken out. He was rushed to Rajawadi Hospital. However, after being admitted at the hospital, he was declared dead at around 10.45 pm,” he said.
The official said that the family then burst out at hospital officials and asked why swab test was not done right on June 21. Responding to them, the BMC officials said that the actions as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines according to which symptomatic close contacts are to be tested between 5 to 10 days of coming in contact with the positive patient.
“According to the guidelines, the senior citizen could have only been tested after at least 5 days from the death of the previous patient, only if he was symptomatic. Despite the explanation, the family’s anger persisted and they demanded a post-mortem. Taking note of the situation, the hospital administration took a swab sample of the deceased senior citizen and sent it for testing, while the body was kept in the morgue. As per the report received today [June 26], it has been concluded that the senior citizen was Covid positive,” said BMC officials.