A purported audio clip of a senior nursing staff narrating alleged negligence in connecting the ventilator ‘leading’ to the death of a COVID-19 patient at a state-run hospital here triggered an outrage, prompting the Kerala government to order a probe on Monday. In the WhatsApp audio clip, allegedly sent to her fellow staff members at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kalamassery, the staff is heard saying that ‘misplacement’ of the ventilator tubes led to the death of the man on July 20 in the intensive care unit.
The family of the patient petitioned Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking action while the hospital authorities dismissed as baseless the remarks in the audio clip which went viral on social media and demanded action against those who circulated it. Vijayan said the government would look into the issue and assured necessary steps and Health Minister KK Shailaja directed the Medical Education Director to carry out a detailed inquiry and submit a report speedily. In a statement, the Health Minister’s office said the nursing officer will be suspended pending an inquiry. In the audio, the staff told fellow nurses about the need to be more vigilant while giving care to the patients admitted to the hospital while citing the death. He was recuperating well in the ICU and was to be shifted to the ward. He died as his ventilator tubes were misplaced. And his relatives had lodged a complaint, she had purportedly said. He was an acute diabetic and high BP patient and also overweight and suffering due to lack of proper breathing. Besides, he was also suffering from serious COVID pneumonia. He was not in a position to be shifted to the ward.