An internal report circulated by Chennai Corporation showed a far higher death count than the numbers shared by Health Dept
Just a few days ago, family members of a senior nurse at the RGGGH who died after developing complications strikingly similar to COVID-19 patients, claimed that the hospital erased her COVID positive status following her death. While the alleged tampering of her death report was clarified as an ‘error’ by health officials, the rising number of ‘errors’ in death memorandums are alarming. According to an unofficial report circulated by Chennai Corporation, 398 people ‘could’ have died of COVID-19 till Thursday, which is higher than the figures released by the civic body (232 deaths). As per Health Department officials, only 166 patients had died in Chennai as on Friday morning.
Recently, the relative of a man who died in a government hospital informed this newspaper that the body was buried as per the protocols outlined for COVID-19 patients, even though family members claimed he was not tested for the virus when unwell. A corporation official, on condition of anonymity confirmed if there is even the slightest possibility that a person could have died of COVID-19, they were instructed to bury the corpse following the protocols.
When contacted, Corporation Commissioner G Prakash said number of deaths on any particular day was decided by the death audit committee comprising senior doctors under the guidance of the Director of Medical Education. “They finalise it and that’s the final technical report,” he said. Director of Medical Education Dr Narayana Babu however claimed that there was no difference in the number of deaths made public and actual deaths. “It is not like the number of deaths due to COVID-19 are not what is revealed. The death audit committee has all the details of the deceased and their cases. It is being reviewed and updated,” he said.