A 57-year-old coronavirus patient, who was caught on camera walking out of a state-run hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj city just 24 hours after he was admitted to the facility, was found dead on Sunday evening. His body was found in bushes, just 500 metres away from the hospital.
His family has accused the hospital of "negligence", adding that he "escaped" after he faced harassment. The administration, however, has denied these claims.
He was admitted to Prayagraj's Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital, a level-III government facility for coronavirus patients with symptoms, on Friday evening with breathing issues.
An audio clip was released by his family as they claimed the patient had called them up on Saturday morning, hours before he "escaped" from the hospital. He reportedly said his complaints at the hospital had gone unheard.
"My mouth was dry all night. I felt suffocated, probably because of the ventilator. I tried to tell a few people here to help but no one listened," the man can be heard saying in the purported audio recording of his conversation with the family, which was released yesterday.
A CCTV footage shows a man resembling the coronavirus patient walking out of the Covid ward's gate of the hospital at around 4:30 pm on Saturday (as seen on time stamp). About 30 seconds later, a group of men can be seen walking out of the same gate.
The hospital administration has claimed these men work with the hospital; they were trying to pursue the patient.
"This patient had fever and breathing problems. His condition was improving. But he walked out all of a sudden. The doctors tried to stop him but before anyone could understand what was happening, the patient left. We immediately informed the police," said Dr SP Singh, the principal of the SRN Hospital.
Visuals from Sunday evening show health workers in PPE (Personal protective equipment) suits fishing out a body from bushes outside the residence of a Prayagraj Police officer. This place is just 500 metres away from the hospital.
"My father is no more. This is all because of the negligence by the hospital. Patients are harassed there. My father walked out of a ward and no one was held responsible. No one was providing food till money was given," the daughter of the man alleged as she spoke to the reporters.
This is not the first time that the state-run hospital has found itself at the centre of a controversy. On July 18, a 65-year-old patient died inside a Covid ward at the hospital . A video, which was widely shared on social media, showed the man crying for help but it was alleged that no doctor or health staff came to assist the dying man.
The hospital had denied all the allegations against it at the time.