Exposing the loopholes in tracking COVID patients, a 74-year-old man who tested positive on June 10 and was taken to Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMCH) the next day has been missing since then. The hospital does not have any record of him having been admitted there, but the family has learnt from fellow patients and others that they saw him at the hospital.
On June 11 morning, sanitary inspector Divya took Adikesavan to the screening centre in Guindy on an ambulance for preliminary checkup for diabetes and blood pressure after which he was to be referred to KMCH.
However, it is not clear what happened after that, as the sanitary inspector said she does not track the patients on her own because she would not get any update from the hospital.
As Adikesavan did not have a phone, Divya tried to check with another COVID patient who was on the same ambulance and was reportedly told that he was admitted to KMCH.
She passed on the information to Manivannan, who was busy with the last rites of his grandmother, and added that no visitors were allowed. But when he went to KMCH on June 14, he was told that nobody by the name of Adikesavan was admitted there. He approached St Thomas Mount police and was told that his father was in KMCH based on the information they received from the screening centre.
Manivannan checked all government hospitals, but could not find his father anywhere. When he lodged a complaint online, he was asked to approach Kilpauk police station as his father went missing from KMCH. He lodged a fresh complaint at Kilpauk station on Monday.
“My father was Iast seen by fellow patients in KMCH on June 11 before entering the ward. When I inquired the people waiting outside COVID ward, they claim to have seen him in the attenders’ ward. I’m told ambulance driver is responsible for admitting patients in the ward. If he had communicated it to the authorities, I would have known the next day that my father is missing. I still have not informed my mother that he is missing. Because travel by two-wheeler is prohibited, I have been walking 15 km every day hoping to find him somewhere. It poses risk to others also because he is a COVID patient and has been seen in the hospital without any safety gear,” he said.
When contacted, a senior officer said Kilpauk police have been instructed to register a man-missing case and efforts were on to trace him.