In a case of gross negligence, the bodies of two COVID-19 patients allegedly got interchanged in Meerut Medical College on Sunday. The District Magistrate has ordered an inquiry into the case and has promised strict action.
The lapse came to light when a Modinagar family in Ghaziabad district informed the authorities that the body they were given in a packed form, as per protocol, was not of their father who passed away in Meerut Medical College on Saturday evening.
According to Mukesh Kumar, son of the deceased, when the family was conducting the last rites, they discovered that it was not of their father. “I got a call from Meerut Medical College on Saturday night that my father has passed away. The body was given to us in packed form on Sunday morning. Before performing the last rites, when we partially removed the packing to see the face, we were shocked to find that the body was not of our father,” Mr. Mukesh told reporters.
The family members also alleged that when they called up the hospital, the officer on duty reprimanded them and said removing the packing could have legal consequences. “When we persisted, we were told that another person from Meerut’s Rohta Road area also passed away because of COVID-19 around the same time and the bodies could have interchanged,” Mr. Mukesh said, adding he was going to Meerut to collect the ashes of his father.
The authorities called up Varun, son of the other deceased, but by then the family had performed the last rites of the body. “We rushed to Modinagar and collected the remains of our father. We have been told that we could not perform the last rites here, so we are taking him to Meerut,” he said.
Strict action promised
Raj Kumar, Chief Medical Officer, Meerut, who is part of the inquiry committee, told The Hindu that the responsibility would be fixed within 12 hours and strict action would be taken against the guilty.
“We are looking into the allegations of misbehaviour as well, and nobody would be spared,” he said.