Calcutta HC orders post mortem of suspected COVID positive deceased; kin allege negligence killed 18-year-old – Times Now

Kolkata News

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Key Highlights

  • 18-year-old Subhrajit Chatterjee died on Friday. His family alleges negligence.
  • COVID report yet to reach family or confirm positive but family made to sign consent for disposal of body.
  • State government has agreed to let the family perform rituals following COVID-19 norms. Court asks state to submit report in four weeks.

Kolkata: An eight-page order of Calcutta High Court has given some relief to a bereaved family if not a closure either to the irreparable loss of their only son Subhrajit Chatterjee or to the glaring question if he had died due to COVID-19. Subhrajit, 18-years-old, died on Friday night, hours after he was admitted to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.

Subhrajit, a resident of Ichapur in North 24 Paraganas district, had developed massive respiratory distress on Friday morning but he was refused admission in at least two hospitals including one private nursing home. His family had lodged a Fir on Sunday alleging medical negligence and apathy that has claimed the life of the young boy.

In first of its kind incident in West Bengal and possibly in India too, the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday has ordered to conduct a post mortem of a deceased, identified as Subhrajit, who is a suspected COVID case. The family had demanded to know the truth as what had led to his death. As per the order, the state government has agreed to video record the process and submit the report before the court.

The court has also allowed the family to be present at the crematorium as decided by the state government to perform the rituals without coming in direct physical contact with the body. But the most striking part of the order read, “It is clarified that the Court did not decide the issue as to whether the deceased died due to COVID-19 or not”, a statement that underlines the larger ambiguity even the family is suffering from in absence of a proper COVID-19 report.

The private nursing home named Midline in Belghoria, the second medical facility where Subhrajit was taken to after being referred by ESI hospital at Kamarhati, had allegedly left him unattended but to the dismay of the family, the nursing home had handed over a handwritten note claiming the boy was COVID-19 positive, that too as the family claims within five minutes. That one piece of paper led to further complications as he was not given admission to a government hospital called Sagar Dutta and finally brought to Calcutta medical college, almost after a loss of crucial 12 hours during which Subhrajit was gasping for breath and none of the medical facilities had even allegedly cared to give him the intervention of external oxygen.

“They are treating my son as COVID positive. But I still don’t have any report confirming that my son was COVID positive. Everyone refused him admission and today I am helplessly standing before the court. The court has understood the pain of us parents. And we just hope the court’s intervention will set the right precedent so that another parent doesn’t lose their child to such apathy and negligence,” said Biswajit Chatterjee, father of the deceased.

The family was asked to sign on the Kolkata Municipal Corporation consent note for the disposal of the body of Subhrajit, as per the followed procedure by the state civic body where COVID deaths are cremated by them and bodies not handed over to respective families fearing the spread of the virus.

The family had signed it but later lodged a police complaint. The family is questioning the merit of the consent note if the deceased is not a confirmed COVID positive. Calcutta High Court has asked the West Bengal government to submit a report in this regard and scheduled the next hearing after four weeks. The state has not objected to the demands of the family.

“It’s not myself Vs the state of West Bengal as mentioned in the court order copy, rather it’s a mother vs a system that has snatched away my son from me. I had threatened to commit suicide at last and finally, the Calcutta medical college had taken admission of my son. Before that two places had refused. I don’t want another mother to become this desperate, I don’t want another mother to lose her child to such apathy. I still don’t know what killed my son, COVID-19, the virus or unforgivable medical negligence” said Shrabani Chatterjee, the inconsolable mother.