'No leader wants to visit COVID hospitals': Activist after videos of dead bodies next to COVID-19 patients in Sion hospital goes viral

Amid rise in coronavirus cases in Mumbai, shocking videos have surfaced from Mumbai's Sion Hospital in which COVID-19 patients can be seen sleeping next to dead bodies, while others were found sleeping on the floor.

At a time when experts have suggested that social distancing is the main remedy to kill the contagious virus, many patients were found sharing the same bed, in the videos.

The video showing Covid-19 patients surrounded by dead bodies at the LTMG Sion Hospital later led to the removal of the hospital’s Dean Pramod Ingle, said a report by IANS. The reins of the prestigious hospital -- which is one of the major Covid-19 treatment facilities in the city -- has been handed over to Ramesh Bharmal, Dean of BYL Nair Hospital.

After the videos surfaced, netizens took to social media and slammed the administration for not looking after the coronavirus patients. Sucheta Dalal, a journalist and activist, taking to Twitter said, "Really worrying feedback from young doctors in Mumbai. #ThinkAboutIt they say. No leader or senior bureaucrat wants to visit COVID hospitals in PPE. Even the investigation into #SionHospital episode will happen on Zoom or video conference!"

In a series of tweets she said the doctors at Sion Hospital, especially residents who do the heavy lifting, are demoralised at the transfer of a hard-working Dean who was desperately trying to cope in trying conditions.

"Doctors say the pressure to suppress Covid19 positive cases is enormous and the solution is NOT testing. They cite specific cases where even exposed doctors are not allowed tests under instructions from "seniors". Morale dipping badly, cases rising rapidly," Sucheta Dalal tweeted.

She also alleged many seniors of not making visits to wards or even bothering to leave their cabins. "One major hospital has a problem with how to deal with bed sheets of Covid19 patients! The staff doesn’t want to touch them leave alone sent them to the usual Dhobi," Sucheta Dalal said.

On the other hand, another journalist, Priyanka Pulla, said that, "I talked to the head of internal medicine of Sion Hospital in November last year - long before all this began. They have the "keep patients on the floor" situation every single year - every outbreak season for dengue."

She also slammed the administration for apathy of public health infrastructure in Mumbai. "Everyone knew this was coming. Zero surprise value here. This is why the government tom-tomming that the lockdown worked, acting as if this was not going to happen, is so infuriating for health reporters. We have let our public health infrastructure go to the dogs. The stories that doctors tell in 'peacetime' are equally frightening. Trust me. 2-3 patients per bed. Nurses who will not do catheterisation (maybe lack of PPE?); so junior doctors have to do it."

Following a massive furore over the macabre video expose, Mayor Kishori Pednekar had visited the hospital and ordered a probe into the lapses.

Late on Friday, the state government had transferred the BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi and appointed senior IAS officer Iqbal Singh Chahal as the new chief of Asia's biggest and India's richest civic body.

The shake-ups came with Mumbai emerging as the worst COVID-19 hotspot notching a total of 462 deaths besides 12,864 patients, the highest in the country.

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