COVID positive dead-body ‘handed over to family in a blanket’, hospital authorities ‘break protocol’

FPK Photo/Qayoom Khan.

As per BMO the protocol for burying dead bodies was not followed

‘The admin with the help of locals had to make a coffin with wooden planks’

Pulwama: In Pulwama’s Tujjan Village, a 55-year-old woman’s dead body was handed over to her family wrapped in a blanket, locals claim, allegdely breaking the protocol of how dead bodies of COVID positive patients are to be handled.

The protocol ensures that the infection does not spread. However, in this case, the body was sent, wrapped in a blanket, as per locals.

Speaking to Free Press Kashmir, Block Medical Officer, Dr. Javid Ahmed said, “the 55-year-old woman, Bhat Raja, had tested positive for COVID-19 at SMHS. From there she was referred to SKIMS where she died due to a cardio-pulmonary arrest.”

FPK Photo/Qayoom Khan.

As per Dr Javid, the protocol for burying dead bodies was not followed and the district administration worked with the locals to complete the burial formalities.

Hospital authorities are responsible for safe burial of patients succumbing due to Coronavirus. To prevent the risk of infection spreading from a dead-body if any person comes in close contact, multiple precautions are to be taken.

“We were told to make arrangements for the burial and keep a twelve metre long rope ready. Everything was prepared but when the body reached here in an ambulance, we were shocked to see only a blanket wrapped around the deceased,” said a local, who had volunteered to help in the burial procedure.

FPK Photo/Qayoom Khan.

On Saturday alone, two Coronavirus related deaths were reported, taking the death toll in Jammu and Kashmir to 78. The other deceased patient was a 40-year-old woman from Safa Kadal locality of Srinagar.

“If Safakadal woman’s body was put in a box, why not of this lady from our village,” a local asked. “How are we supposed to bury her without touching the body. We were to use ropes to handle the coffin and lower it. But we had to physically handle the dead-body to move it,” he added.

Dr. Farooq Jan, Medical Superintendent Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, had told news agency GNS that a 55-year-old woman from Tujan Pulwama died four days after her admission to the tertiary care hospital.

“She was referred from SMHS hospital as a case of meningioma (brain tumour) with obstructive Sleep Apnea (a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts),” he had said, adding, “she died at 6:45 a.m. due to cardiopulmonary arrest.”

“There were COVID deaths in other villages but their bodies were handed over in a box, then why wasn’t it done this time? Is it because the deceased was not positive?” Abdul Gani Lone, a local, asked in a puzzled voice.

FPK Photo/Qayoom Khan.

The locals, with the help of the administration in Pulwama, worked to build a coffin urgently, for the burial to take place safely.

“If the locals have to make arrangements for the burial, and someone gets infected, the authorities will have to take the blame for that,” another local said.

Free Press Kashmir repeatedly tried to contact the concerned officials of Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) but our calls were not answered till the time of publishing this story.


Zainab Mufti contributed to this story. 


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