Mumbai: Mangala Chavan, 62, has left behind a family of five in Prabhadevi. But she has lain in the mortuary at KEM Hospital for a month now, as the hospital records show her as having no kin. What were the circumstances which led to this blunder is not clear. Chavan was moved from a quarantine centre in Worli where she and her entire family had been quarantined to KEM Hospital, as her condition worsened in the middle of the night.
The quarantine was necessitated because her brother was found to be COVID-19 positive after his death. Mangesh Chavan, Mangala’s brother had experienced chest pain. His family took him to many hospitals, mostly private, they said, but these had refused to admit him, insisting on a COVID-19 test before admission. The family had then taken him to KEM, where there were no beds available and they had to bring him back home, where he died. A post mortem had revealed he was COVID-19 positive. Shortly, the entire family was quarantined. At the Worli quarantine centre, after the midnight of May 12, Mangala Chavan experienced high fever and became unconscious.
The family, through a relative, informed the BMC’s medical health officer in charge of the G-south ward and an ambulance arrived and took her away but they were not informed about where she was being moved. The rest of the family continued to be at the quarantine centre. For a month now, her family had been trying to find out about her condition through Medical Health Officer Dr Devendra Gholar, who had referred her out of the quarantine centre. But they got no proper response, they said. On Friday, a month after her demise, KEM Dean Dr Hemant Deshmukh said there was no information about her relatives in their records and hence, on compassionate grounds, as they do for unclaimed bodies, she has been lying in the hospital mortuary.
“There were no relatives with her and she had come with a police constable,” says Dr Deshmukh. “She was in very serious condition when she arrived and died within three hours of admission,” he informed. A police case was initiated, he said and is being investigated by Bhoiwada Police, as only her name was known and nothing else.
“Since she had been brought from a quarantine centre, it should have been easy to locate her relatives. I don’t know what went wrong,” he said. When Dr Gholar was contacted, he said, “I learnt from you that she has died. Until the hospital tells me, how willI know? When her relative called me, I informed him she had been admitted in KEM hospital.”