Covid-19 patient’s body falls off ambulance, families panic in MP’s Vidisha

The ambulance was carrying bodies of Covid patients for cremation as the district administration is not handing over these bodies to the families for the last rites.

In a shocking video that has emerged from Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha district, a body is seen falling off on the road from an ambulance on its way out of Vidisha Medical College. The ambulance was carrying bodies of Covid patients for cremation as per Covid protocol as the district administration is not handing over bodies to the families for the last rites.

The incident led to panic among family members of Covid patients as the hospital was said to be running short of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMQ). The hospital, which is the only dedicated COVID care centre in the district, has restricted the entry of any relatives of Covid-19 patients into the hospital.

It was on Thursday night that the medical college’s 310-bed hospital with 164 ICU beds began running low on medical oxygen. Currently, the hospital has 252 patients admitted there. In the wake of the unprecedented crisis, district administration officials, including district collector Pankaj Jain, rushed to the medical college. “The situation was brought under control and the hospital did not have to shift to jumbo cylinders as the refilling tank arrived in time,” said Jain.

On Friday morning, however, agitated relatives of Covid-19 patients gheraoed the hospital and began demanding answers. Officials from the district administration reached the hospital in a bid to control the situation. It was around that time that the ambulance left with the deceased to be cremated and dropped one of the bodies on its way out of the hospital.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Dean of Vidisha Medical College, Sunil Nandeshwar said, “The incident occurred this morning when the hospital staff were taking the bodies for cremation. The ambulance was old, donated by an NGO and the door broke leading to the situation.”

The under-construction medical college, which was yet to be opened, has been converted into a COVID care centre in Vidisha.

The district administration has restricted the entry of any family member into the hospital. Explaining to the police, Collector Jain said, “A dedicated COVID hospital is a micro containment zone and we are cremating all bodies as per COVID protocol. None of the bodies are being handed back to families including those suspected or brought dead on arrival.”

Many families, whose members died at the hospital but tested negative for COVID, demanded that they be given the bodies back but were refused by the administration.

“Considering that they have been exposed to an environment which is a micro containment zone, we are not handing over any dead body coming out of the medical college,” said Jain. Instead, a help desk has been put outside the hospital giving information to the families about the patients. “The help desk is transparent and there is nothing to hide. We are giving all information,” added Jain.

According to Nandeshwar, the families who request to meet their loved ones for one last time are allowed inside with PPE kits and N-95 masks for a short period of time.

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