A senior doctor, who had retired from Delhi's All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), died of COVID-19 on Saturday. Dr Jitendra Nath Pande, 78, was the director of the Pulmonology department at the premier hospital, which has been treating coronavirus patients for weeks.
Dr Pande and his wife tested positive for the infection on Tuesday with mild symptoms but remained in home isolation, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria told news agency PTI.
"We were following him up regularly. He said he was improving. Yesterday, he had his dinner and went off to sleep and then died possibly because of an acute cardiac event," he said.
In a tweet, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal paid tributes to him. "Heartfelt condolences to Dr Pande's family. He retired from AIIMS after a long career of service but continued to work in another hospital until his unfortunate demise this week due to Corona. Delhi salutes you sir. RIP," he wrote.
Dr Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals Group, said the disease has claimed its most illustrious victim.
"Deeply saddened to hear that today COVID-19 claimed its most illustrious victim, Dr JN Pande, Director and Professor of Pulmonology, AIIMS, New Delhi. A stalwart of the medical world, his work in pulmonology will continue to ensure better health for many. My Condolences to his family," she tweeted.
Deeply saddened to hear that today @covid19 claimed it's most illustrious victim Dr. J.N Pande Director & Prof of Pulmonology @aiims_newdelhi— Dr. Sangita Reddy (@drsangitareddy) May 23, 2020
A stalwart of the medical world his work in pulmonology will continue to ensure better health for many
My Condolences to his family pic.twitter.com/ByE83ikItS
Dr Pande's death comes a day after a mess worker at AIIMS died of the disease, prompting allegations from the Resident Doctors Association that precautionary measures it demanded weeks back had not been taken.
"A mess worker from RPC canteen died of COVID-19 because the hostel section refused to take precautionary measures as demanded by RDA more than a month ago," the RDA said in a letter to the AIIMS Director on Friday.
"These demands have fallen on deaf ears and hence the fatal outcome," it added.
Scores of doctors and health workers have been infected with coronavirus in the national capital, one of the worst coronavirus-hit states in the country.
After doctors and nursing staff were found to be coronavirus positive last month, hospitals like Hindu Rao, Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial Hospital and Delhi Cancer Institute had to be sealed.
Some police personnel, posted at AIIMS, had to be quarantined after a policeman tested positive in April.
AIIMS had shut down its out-patient department for the first time in history in March, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the first phase of the coronavirus lockdown. It is planning to open its OPD, news agency PTI reported last week, by setting up a screening area and segregating patients with influenza symptoms.
Delhi has so far reported 12,319 coronavirus cases, including 208 deaths. It is the fourth worst-hit state in the country after Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
With inputs from PTI