COVID-19 | Dead on display in TIMS corridors


The sight of plastic-wrapped bodies in plain view is leaving patients and their attendants horrified

Wrapped in plastic bags and piled on gurneys, the skin-crawling sight of bodies of COVID-19 victims lying in the corridors of the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) has been leaving patients and their attendants horrified.

The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the already-burdened healthcare system to its brink and the gaps in management are not going unnoticed.

However, at TIMS, the major concern is that of an inordinate delay in clearing bodies from plain sight. People who have lost a loved one to the deadly infection say that no one should be subjected to such a gut-wrenching sight when they step into the facility hoping to recover.

Some of the disturbing photos are with The Hindu, which is refraining from publishing those. In one of the photos, at least five bodies wrapped in plastic are kept on a row of beds at end of a corridor. The patients’ belongings wrapped in other bags are kept next to the bodies.

Plea of health staff

Healthcare workers at TIMS have corroborated that many bodies were not cleared for 10 to 12 hours on some days. They have also pleaded for the issue to be addressed at the earliest.

The attendant of a patient said it was a traumatic sight, no less. “The bodies were kept on beds on the ground floor, near the ICU. Is that a sight one expects to see after stepping into a hospital? Are we stepping into an ICU or a mortuary? Why can’t the government take steps to take care of such a thing when they claim thousands of crores would be spent for COVID management? I lost a family member recently, and I sincerely wish no one else is reminded of death and loss in this grisly manner,” the grieving attendant said on the condition of anonymity.

“Recently, a male patient in Room number 226 died in the morning, and his body was lying in the corridor for hours. Healthcare workers pointed it out around 5 p.m. that day and requested for it to be cleared. There were many similar situations which were pointed out by doctors along with the floor number, time of death and delay in clearing the body,” a source at the hospital said.

Miscommunication

Sources also pointed to long delays in updating family members about a patient’s condition or informing them of a death.

“In one such case, while doctors went out of their way to inform the death of a patient, the reception desk said the patient was alive. The family wanted to keep up the faith and thought the doctors had given wrong information, and confronted them. Such miscommunication creates unnecessary anxiety for a family which is already going through a lot,” a source added.

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