As per epidemic protocol, body disposed of to minimise risk of infection to family
Hyderabad: A 60-year-old patient who had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus on Saturday died in a private hospital in Hyderabad Monday morning.
This is the second death due to the coronavirus epidemic in Telangana state. The total number of coronavirus positive cases went up to 77 on Mondnay, with six fresh cases being reported.
The Telangana government did not reveal personal details of the Covid-19 fatality today, with a view to preventing any stigmatization of the victim’s family.
The patient had been brought in with severe respiratory distress. Despite ventilator support, the patient deteriorated very fast and could not be saved.
District medical and health officials moved in quickly to commence the rigorous process of disposal of the body. It has to be placed in a Ziploc bag and treated with disinfectant.
Family members are not allowed to go close to the body and funeral rituals are not allowed. No more than five people are allowed to be present during the final rites.
Policemen are on hand to ensure there is no breach of peace as the experience can be harrowing to families.
A senior health official, speaking on condition of anonymity, explained, “This is the most sensitive part of the ordeal. Dealing with the family members requires a lot of patience. We have to ensure that the body is disposed of as per protocol and protect the family against any stigma.”
Those who are admitted in hospitals for Covid-19 infection are breaking down. They are scared and not sure what is going to be done to them.
Unlike other ailments, which allow doctors and nurses to hover around a patient, Covid-19 patients are monitored on camera. A nurse comes once in four hours and the treating doctor comes only if required.
Distanced from family and medical personnel alike, and having to wait up to 24 hours for test results is breaking the spirit of many patients in quarantine.
A senior doctor explained, “When risk levels are high, proximity of doctors to patients is not advised. Protective gear cannot be used for all cases. For this reason, a protocol of on-camera monitoring, low contact with patients and checking of vitals at intervals of four hours has been designed. But patients in the age group of 60-80 years are not able to understand the purpose of this protocol and are breaking down. They want a family member around, which is not possible.”
Psychological counselling or reassurance is not happening. There are only physicians around whose main priority is managing the physical symptoms.