Over 40 people, who had attended the cremation of a
Thinking he died of liver failure, the family members performed the last rites in the presence of 500 people.
According to the protocol, a deceased has to be tested for Covid before the body is handed over to the kin. That way the relatives can be advised about the precautions needed to be taken while performing the final rites. However, in this case, Cardinal Gracious hospital in Vasai, allegedly, handed over the body before the report came in.
According to civic authorities, a 55-year-old man from Arnala, who was admitted to the hospital with acute liver problem, had died during treatment on Thursday early morning. His body was sent for Covid testing, as is the norm, but the hospital didn’t wait for the report.
The body was then taken to the deceased’s village in Arnala and according to his religious beliefs, the final rites were conducted in the crematorium in the presence of hundreds of people.
On Friday, the hospital informed the family members that the man had tested positive for the virus. The news led to shock and panic among the relatives.
Dr. Balasaheb Jadhav, Vasai taluka health officer, said that as soon as the administration came to know about the incident, they started contact tracing and zeroed in on 40 people who are high-risk contacts.
“We have quarantined these people since they participated in the funeral rituals and came in close contact with the body. We are also screening the other attendees,” he said.
“It’s because of Cardinal Gracious hospital’s negligence that people’s lives are at risk. We have served a notice to the hospital and an inquiry will be conducted following which action will be taken,” he said.
However, Flory De monte, general manager of the hospital, said that the hospital had taken all the necessary precautions, as per the guidelines, while handing over the body. It hasn’t committed any negligence.
“The man wasn’t admitted as a corona patient. We were getting several calls to release the body. It was also the responsibility of the relatives to maintain social distancing during cremation,” she said, adding that Covid test reports take a long time to come.