Coronavirus Outbreak: Kashmiri cleric who travelled to Tablighi Jamaat dies after docs refuse to admit, test him for disease
Srinagar: The death of a well-known Kashmiri businessman and an Islamic preacher associated with the Tablighi Jamaat has pointed to the negligence of authorities in containing the coronavirus. Days before his death, doctors refused to admit 65-year old Islamic preacher Mohammad Ashraf Anim to the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Bemina in Srinagar and didn't even carry out any tests, despite the fact that he had symptoms of the disease and had travelled outside Jammu and Kashmir. The reason provided, according to members of his family, was that Anim had no history of international travel, and the hospital had restricted itself to testing such cases. Anim, his family said, was advised to isolate himself at home.
According to his nephew Zafar, who is a doctor, Anim was taken to SKIMS Bemina on 21 March, but even as doctors had written on his medical card that he was a suspected coronavirus case, they refused to admit him to the hospital. Later, when the family shifted him on its own to SKIMS Hospital in Soura, he was not tested there and was only admitted to the Chest Disease Hospital the following day. It was there that he breathed his last on 26 March.
The patient had provided doctors with his travel history — including his visit to the Tablighi centre at Nizamuddin in Delhi and to Uttar Pradesh. He had travelled outside Kashmir between 7 and 16 March. The hospital records reveal that he showed symptoms of COVID-19 on 21 March at SKIMS Bemina, including a high fever. After he developed a high fever and began to suffer from shortness of breath, his family shifted him from his residence at Hyderpora to SKIMS Bemina, but the doctors refused to admit him there.
"We revealed our entire travel history to the doctors at the SKIMS, including his visit to the mosque at Nizamudin, but they refused to carry out any tests. We even revealed his prior travel history during the month of January. The doctors told us that the he should be home quarantined and they were only testing those who had an international travel history. So we decided to get him back to our home before we shifted him to the CD Hospital, where he was admitted to the isolation ward and died due to lung inflammation," said Zafar.
Zafar said that they arranged for an "oxygen cylinder from one of our relatives who already has a medical complication". And as Anim's condition deteriorated, "we shifted him to the CD Hospital, where he passed away". Zafar added, "My uncle was diabetic and also suffered from hypertension; there are no specialist doctors at the CD Hospital and he was not managed well." SKIMS Bemina authorities aren't authorised to comment on patient or treatment history.
The death of one of the richest persons in Kashmir — whose family had been running cement industries as well as toughened glass manufacturing units, alongside selling textile fabrics — points to the maltreatment of patients in hospitals. Although the authorities had promised to hold an inquiry into Anim's death, Additional Commissioner Kashmir, Tassaduq Hussain Mir, said that they were not carrying out any "probe". A report by the divisional authorities has however noted that the "patient has been given ample time to spread the virus by intermingling with the public and relatives". The hospital authorities of SKIMS Bemina have also been asked to explain their position.
Following Anim's death, Kashmiris have raised questions over the laxity in handling the coronavirus by the authorities, as there have also been reports of patients managing to flee from hospitals and even vandalising property of healthcare centres to protest the lack of facilities. At least two people have died due to COVID-19, while 48 others have tested positive in Kashmir. The death of Anim has also raised questions over the laxity in the tracing people with whom patients have come in contact in Kashmir, while those who have been quarantined have complained about the lack of healthcare facilities.
GN Var, an educationist, who knew Anim and his family, said that his death reflects the negligence of authorities in dealing with the disease. "While the government closed schools, it allowed winter games in Kashmir when the coronavirus had already spread in other parts of world. The government should take over the hotels in Kashmir and keep the coronavirus patients there and not mistreat them. The tracing of contacts of the coronavirus-positive cases has not happened properly," said Var, who lives a few miles away from Anim's home. Following his death, some residents of his home town of Hyderpora have moved to other places, said a local resident.
Kashmir's nodal officer for the coronavirus, SM Kadri, said, "We are following the health guidelines strictly. The high-risk contacts — who are the family members of the coronavirus-positive cases — are being tested irrespective of whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic for the disease. The neighbours who are in the low risk category are being tested if they have the symptoms," he said.
Updated Date: Apr 02, 2020 13:16:35 IST
COVID-19 Social Distancing: Study suggests 6 feet is not enough, virus can travel up to 20 feet
When can India expect to achieve herd immunity?
International Women’s Health Day 2020: Eight sexual health commandments for every woman to live by
Hypertension: How a hormone called aldosterone may have been the cause of your high blood pressure
Review study suggests vitamin D may not be a predictor of COVID-19 deaths, unlike previously thought
Can artificial sunlight kill the COVID-19 causing virus?
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: 2,091 people test positive for COVID-19 in Maharashtra today; confirmed cases rise to 54,758 in state
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: Mumbai reports 1,382 new COVID-19 cases; confirmed infections rise to 25,317
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: Junior assistant in Delhi LG's office tests positive for COVID-19; samples from 40 staff members taken
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: 459 people test positive for COVID-19 in Pune today, total number of cases rises to 6,153
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: Railways will partially restore train services from 1 June, says Centre; bookings for 200 trains to begin tomorrow
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: 267 new COVID-19 patients reported in Rajasthan today, total number of cases rises to 6,494