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Hyderabad: Video of Dying COVID-19 Patient Raises Allegations of Negligence

In a video recorded before his death, Ravikumar accused a government hospital of denying him ventilator support. Authorities at the hospital say he died of heart complications and not because of lack of oxygen.
A screenshot from Ravikumar's video.

New Delhi: Allegations of inadequate hospital facilities and negligence of COVID-19 patients have resurfaced in Hyderabad after a video recorded by a patient who died on Friday went viral. In the video, V. Ravikumar, a 35-year-old man, said he wasn’t given proper ventilator support at the Government Chest Hospital in Erragadda.

His family shared the video on social media, where he is seen alleging that he wasn’t attended to adequately by the hospital staff and that his ventilator support was withdrawn.

“I have been pleading with them to put me on a ventilator for the last three hours. I am struggling to breathe and feel like my heart has stopped. They are not listening to me. They are not putting me on a ventilator,” he is seen saying.

“Bye Daddy, bye everyone,” he added.

However, the hospital authorities, while refuting claims that he had died because of low oxygen levels, said that the patient had developed myocarditis, a condition in which the heart swells to stop normal pumping of blood.

Ravikumar was admitted to the hospital on June 24, after he complained of fever and breathlessness. He undertook the RT-PCR test for COVID-19 the same day but he died before his results could come. Later, the laboratory report confirmed that he was COVID-positive.

Ravikumar’s is yet another case in which the patient’s family had to struggle to get treatment. Speaking to the Indian Express, his father Venkatesh said, “My son was suffering from high fever on June 23. All hospitals denied his treatment, suspecting he was suffering from coronavirus, and demanded a test report first. We visited at least 12 hospitals and yet no one gave admission without a test report.”

He added that a private laboratory also refused to test him for COVID-19 as the staff said they were overburdened with samples. When denied admission in several hospitals, including government hospitals like Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) and Gandhi General Hospital, he could finally get his son admitted at the Government Chest Hospital on June 24.

Dr Mahboob Khan, the superintendent of the Government Chest Hospital, refuted the allegations against the facility. He said the allegations were “baseless” and that he was given enough oxygen. Cardiac problems led to his death, he said.

“He was a suspected Covid patient. We admitted him to the isolation ward and put him on oxygen supply. His saturation levels were maintained. Unfortunately, he developed myocarditis and this led to a sudden collapse of the heart. That is what happened in his case,” the superintendent told the Indian Express.

Also Read: KCR Scorns Media, but Doctors’ Protest Reveals Lapses in Government Handling of COVID

Eatala Rajender, the state’s health minister, when asked about the video, slammed the deceased patient. He said patients were given internet facilities and cell phones so they can interact with families “not to misuse” it to record videos.

“These days, there are a lot of allegations of negligence in government hospitals in social media… We have cured thousands of people, but some people are complaining about not being provided oxygen, doctors not attending, not being provided ventilators. This is all false,” he said, according to The News Minute.

He also claimed that the Ravikumar had died of a heart problem and not because of lung issues.

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