Kolkata: A 76-year-old man from Bihar who had multiple age-related ailments died due to alleged negligence of a private hospital in Kolkata that denied admission suspecting him to be positive for COVID-19, his family members said on Wednesday.
Shahid Ahmad Yahya, a resident of Darbhanga, was brought to Kolkata on May 9 for admission to the Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals on the recommendation of the doctor who used to treat him, his son-in-law Mokhtar Alam told PTI.
Yahya who was diagnosed with parkinsonism induced by sepsis used to consult the Kolkata-based doctor.
The doctor recommended Yahya, who was in the ICU of a hospital in Darbhanga, to be shifted here for better treatment, Alam who is a resident of Kolkata said.
“We travelled from Darbhanga in an ICU ambulance after getting necessary passes from the administration and straightaway took him to the Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals,” he said.
“Doctors there made us wait for a couple of hours and then conducted some tests while my father-in-law was lying on a stretcher in the corridor of the hospital,” Alam said.
A doctor suddenly said that he was suspected to be positive for COVID-19 and should be taken to the MR Bangur Hospital or any other government-run facility that is treating coronavirus cases, he said.
“My father-in-law had no symptoms. I don’t know why the doctors at Apollo denied him admission. On the outpatient case record they noted him as a COVID-19 suspect and referred him to a government hospital treating coronavirus patients,” Alam said.
Yahya’s family members alleged that he was in a critical condition but instead of treating him, the doctors at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals wasted much of the crucial time, a charge denied by the hospital authorities.
An official of the Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals said every patient is being screened for COVID-19 and if the patient comes across as a suspect then a confirmatory test becomes necessary before admission.
“But for a test to be conducted we need to have a bed available in the ‘COVID suspect ward’ as we can’t risk the exposure of non-COVID patients to the deadly virus. If beds are not available at the time, we have to refer the patient to a government hospital,” he said.
Yahya was then taken to another private hospital off EM Bypass which denied him admission as well.
Subsequently, he was taken to the state-run MR Bangur Hospital, which is a designated facility for COVID-19, in south Kolkata.
“He was admitted to the male isolation ward of the MR Bangur Hospital on May 9 and he died on May 11 around 4.15 am,” Alam said.
Yahya tested negative for COVID-19 and his death certificate mentioned cardiorespiratory failure in a case of sepsis with chronic kidney disease and stage 3 diabetic Mellitus and hypertension as the cause of his death.
His family members said the doctors at the Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals that denied him admission on the grounds that he was a COVID-19 suspect should be punished.
“We want justice and would take legal steps against the doctors who denied him admission,” said Alam.
This incident came to fore even as the West Bengal government ordered private hospitals and clinics to admit all patients without seeking certificates, stating that they are COVID-19 free, or face strict penal action.
Yahya was buried on Tuesday evening at the Solana Kabristan in the Ekbalpore area of the city.