On Sunday morning, Corporation officials attached to the Royapuram zone received information about an elderly man suffering from a severe acute respiratory illness (SARI). The officials immediately reached the apartment on Sami Pandaram Street, where the patient, identified as Manth, worked as a security guard.
“We reached the spot with an ambulance to shift the elderly persons to a hospital. But some residents prevented us from attending the person and hurled abusive words against us. As there were many residents, we were forced to flee the spot leaving the man behind. The residents seemed like they did not want their building sealed,” a Chennai Corporation field official said.
It is learnt that the elderly man did not have a family as he had run away from his home as a youth. He was staying in a portion of the same apartment building after taking up the security guard job.
However, to the surprise of the civic officials, some residents of the building called them again in the afternoon and sought help to transport the elderly man to the hospital as his health further deteriorated. “We took the person to Omandurar Government Multi-Speciality Hospital and admitted him after registering one of the workers as an attender as the hospital refused to admit the patient without an attender,” a worker said.
As Manth had symptoms related to COVID-19, his samples were collected for testing but he died a few hours after even before the test results were released. On Monday morning, samples collected from Manth confirmed him positive.
When DT Next asked an official whether it was possible to launch a police complaint against the apartment residents who had stopped civic officials, he said the field officials are busy fighting the COVID-19 spread and “it is also the duty of the public to help persons needing medical attention. If he had received medical treatment on time, there would have been a chance of him recovering.”
The civic body is also in the process of setting up a help desk to attend persons with SARI symptoms. The desk would coordinate with the field officials in arranging treatment.