‘Missing’ COVID-19 patient found dead inside hospital toilet

An 82-year-old woman COVID-19 patient, who had reportedly gone missing from the state-run Jalgaon district civil hospital eight days ago, was found dead inside a toilet there on Wednesday, officials said.
The death came to light after some patients in the hospital complained of foul smell emanating from the toilet, where the body kept lying for eight days, the officials said.
Jalgaon District Collector Avinash Dhakane confirmed the death of the elderly woman.
Officials from the district collectorate said, “It is true that her body was found in the toilet of the civil hospital. The door was locked from inside.” The woman was from Bhusawal town in the district, where she was initially admitted to a local hospital run by the railways. She was taken to Jalgaon civil hospital on June 1 and she tested coronavirus positive the next day, they said.
“However, when her relatives contacted the hospital to inquire about her health status, they were told that they were unable to trace her. The family members then reported it to the Peth Police Station in Jalgaon, but it was of little help,” an official said.
An official of the civil hospital said, “The dysfunctional CCTV cameras posed more difficulties for the police. It was due to the foul odour emanating from Ward 7 led to the octogenarian woman patient’s body being traced in one of the toilets. Her body was partially decomposed when recovered.”
BJP leader and former state minister Girish Mahajan, who had earlier served as the Jalgaon district guardian minister, said, “The incident underscores the poor condition of the hospital and the careless approach of the hospital staff in tracing a missing COVID-19 patient.” “We had raised the issue of the Jalgaon civil hospital’s poor management in some earlier meetings, but it was ignored,” he said.
Mahajan said that the woman’s body kept lying in the toilet for seven days.
“It also means that the hospital staff does not clean it on a regular basis. The police are also equally responsible for not taking enough efforts to find her,” he alleged.
“Strict action should be taken against senior officials in the hospital to avoid such incidents in future,” he said.