Delhi Govt Orders Probe Into the Death of Covid-19 Patient At Sultanpuri Centre, Refutes Negligence Charge
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, APRIL 26—The Delhi government has instituted a magisterial probe into the death of a Tamil Nadu resident Mohammed Mustafa, a Covid-19 positive patient, at the Sultanpuri quarantine centre on April 22.
The probe was ordered following allegations of negligence levelled by All India Muslim Personal law Board (AIMPLB) member Fathima Muzaffer and a letter written to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) regarding inadequate medical and other facilities at quarantines centres, particularly at Sultanpuri. Two days ago, TN Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami also wrote a letter to Kejriwal, requesting him to ensure proper food and medical facilities to inmates from TN.
The deceased Mustafa is having two college going children: one 19-year-old and another 17-year-old.
Speaking to India Tomorrow over phone, Fathima, who is also an office-bearer of the Indian Union Mulsim League (IUML) and lives at Chennai, demanded that all the 559 Tablighi Jamaat members from Tamil Nadu quarantined at different centres in Delhi be shifted to quarantine centres in Tamil Nadu. She said that some social activists were going to file a case in the court seeking transfer of inmates from Delhi to quarantines centres in their home state where they would follow all rules and regulations. She said that people from TN were facing problem of language barrier. They were also facing problem regarding food as in Delhi they are served ‘roti’ and North Indian foods while people from TN are habitual to eating rice.
Fathima, who has been in regular touch with the family of Mustafa in Coimbatore, said that Mustafa, who retired two years ago from the government job, had gone to the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz at Nizamuddin in Delhi in second week of March. He was quarantined in Rajiv Gandhi Multi-Speciality Hospital on March 29. According to government records, she said Mustafa was tested Covid-19 positive.
She said that Mustafa was given only paracetamol and Vitam C tablets at the hospital. He was, however, discharged on April 19 and shifted to the Covid-19 quarantine centre at Sultanpuri. Quoting Mustafa’s family members, Fathima alleged that he was breathing and coughing when he was discharged from the hospital. She alleged that Mustafa was provided drugs for diabetes neither at the hospital nor at the Sultanpuri centre.
Before being shifted to Sultanpuri centre on April 19, Mustafa’s samples were again taken on April 18 but the results were awaited. Yet, Mustafa was discharged on April 19 and advised quarantine for two weeks. “He was quarantined with other inmates at Sultanpuri Covid-19 quarantine centre. He was not treated for diabetes. He was not given proper food. No healthcare facility”, she alleged. She said that his test report had not come till he died on April 22 morning. “So, it is not clear if he was Covid-19 positive or negative”, she said.
“Mustafa died of sheer negligence”, she alleged.
She asked, “Why was Mustafa shifted to a quarantine centre if it was not clear after treatment that he was Covid-19 negative or positive? If he was Covid-19, there was risk of others getting infected from him. This is a big negligence on the part of the hospital to discharge such a person and transfer him to a centre with inmates under quarantine”.
Mustafa, on April 19, talked to his wife over phone. He told her that he had not been given diabetes medicine for 22 days. “I am not having any other problem, except medicines and food”, Mustafa is reported to have told his wife. He said he got two pieces of bread and a piece of banana in breakfast at 11 am, two ‘roties’ and vegetables at 2.30 pm and two ‘roties’ along with pulses at 9 pm.
Fathima alleged that people at quarantine centres were being treated like animals. “There is no arrangement for regular check-up of blood pressure and sugar level. Doctors visit the centre after three-four days. There are too much of mosquitoes and ceiling fan in most of the rooms are not working””, AIMPLB member alleged.
“Why was Mustafa discharged when test result was still awaited? When he was a known diabetic why he was not given medicines for diabetes on discharge? When he was not declared negative why he was quarantined with other innocent and negative detainees? What is the fate of the remaining quarantined innocent and negative inmates, though they have spent 14 days without symptoms and tested negative? Why is the government not allowing the NGOs to help them? Why are they treating them with hostility, not empathy?”, asked AIMPLB member.
Fathima said that after Mustafa died on April 22 morning, there was a lot of anger among the inmates from TN and they shouted slogans against the administration. She said that doctors were immediately called and they shifted Mustafa to LNJP hospital where he was declared ‘brought dead’.
But District Magistrate (North-West district) Sandeep Mishra rejected the charge of negligence. “However, a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident”, he said.
In response to a SMS query from India Tomorrow, he said, “As government’s policy and set medical protocol, all mild symptom cases are shifted from Delhi government hospitals to isolation centres/CCC. Sultanpuri is one of such a facility in Delhi. Both positive and negative inmates are kept separately as per prescribed health protocol”.
He said: “The death was prima facie not because of negligence as five doctors were on duty at the time of incident and the patient was attended to. Deceased was a COVID patient who unfortunately succumbed before he could be shifted to hospital. Doctors are deployed there on 24X7. Food is being served regularly 4 times to all inmates”.
Mustafa was buried in a graveyard under Delhi Wakf Board management as it was not possible to transport the body to Coimbatore due to lockdown.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Writes to Delhi CM
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has written a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealing him to ensure that those from TN in quarantine centres are taken care of properly.
Stating that a total of 559 Tablighis from Tamil Nadu, who had attended Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, were quarantined at different centres in Delhi, Palaniswami said that many of them have been complaining that they were not getting food and medicines on time though some of the inmates were diabetic.
"The individuals have been complaining that some of them are diabetic and suffering from other co-morbidities. They are also not provided timely meals in the quarantine facilities", TN CM wrote to Kejriwal.
Requesting Kejriwal “to instruct authorities to provide the best possible care for the quarantined/hospitalised individuals in addition to providing necessary medical assistance to individuals suffering from co-morbid conditions”, Palaniswami said that as the authorities might be asked to provide food and medicines at appropriate times during Ramzan.