In a bizarre turn of events, the body of a 42-year-old man who died at Hyderabad's Gandhi Hospital and Medical College (GHMC), where he had been admitted after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus, has led to a dispute between his family and hospital authorities.
Last week, on May 16, the man's wife, Alampally Madhavi, and their two children, were discharged from the same hospital after being treated for the novel coronavirus. On being discharged, she asked about her husband but was told he was on ventilator.
As time passed and the hospital stopped responding to queries, a worried wife, believing her husband to be missing, tweeted for help and tagged Telangana minister KT Rama Rao.
"Hello K Taraka Rama Rao sir, Myself Madhavi w/o Madhusudhan (age: 42) living with two daughters in Vanasthalipuram. As our family members (were) suffering from coronavirus... admitted in Gandhi Hospital. After discharge, we all came back home except my husband," she tweeted on Wednesday.
alive at some other time, till yet they are not responding about my husband case at all.....— Alampally Madhavi (@AlampallyMadha3) May 20, 2020
So please, we hope on you and request you to help on my husband missing case.
Thank you sir,
According to her tweets, Madhusudan was admitted to the King Koti Hospital before being transferred to GHMC on April 30. "... then reported that my husband was not alive by May 1 and they said that the cremation process is ... " the second tweet read.
Shortly afterwards, the superintendent at GHMC clarified that Madhusudan had indeed been admitted on the day mentioned and died the following day, on May 1.
Madhavi said she was not informed about her husband's death and no one took her permission before the cremation. She also said no other family members were notified about the identification process.
She is now seeking proof of cremation and the return of his belongings.
Telangana Health Minister Etala Rajender said it was true Madhavi had not been informed, but this was on advice from her extended family, who feared she could collapse with shock given that she herself had been infected with the virus and, her father-in-law had died only a few days earlier.
"Many families who were scared, or were in quarantine, are unable to be present at the last rites and the GHMC has performed these according to their tradition," the minister said, adding that it was not possible to freeze the body.
The GHMC superintendent had earlier put out a note that said Madhusudan suffered from bilateral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome before succumbing to the COVID-19 virus.
Hospital authorities also insisted they followed due procedure and handed the body over to the police.
11 members of the Alampally family reportedly contracted the disease after Madhusudan's younger brother got infected and the family went to hospital to visit him.