Probe ordered by Kerala Government after viral audio clip of nurse talking about medical negligence

The Government in Kerala has directed an official probe to be conducted after an audio clip went viral where a senior nursing practitioner was heard talking about medical negligence.

An audio clip has gone viral where a senior nursing practitioner is heard talking about alleged medical negligence in connecting the much-needed ventilator, following which a COVID-19 patient reportedly died at a state-operated hospital in Kerala. The viral WhatsApp audio clip was reportedly sent by the nurse to fellow colleagues at the Kalamassery based Government Medical College Hospital. The nurse is heard stating that ventilator tube misplacement led to the demise of the individual on the 20th of July at the intensive care unit (ICU).

medical negligence in covid-19 icu ward

The patient’s family submitted a petition to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, asking for immediate action while the allegations were dismissed by the authorities at the hospital. Vijayan has stated that the Government will be looking into the matter and assured that steps would be taken while KK Shailaja, the Health Minister, has directed a detailed inquiry to be carried out by the Medical Education Director. A report will also be submitted in this regard. The office of the Health Minister stated that the nursing officer will be suspended pending an inquiry.

In this audio clip, the staffer talked about how there was a need to be more alert while providing services to patients in the hospital. The individual had recuperated in the ICU and had to be shifted to the ward. He died after misplacement of the ventilator tubes according to the nursing staff member heard in the clip. The nursing officer also reportedly stated that punishment was avoided by people responsible for the patient’s death since doctors did not reveal the exact cause of death to the relatives of the patient.

The deceased patient’s family petitioned the Kerala Chief Minister on Monday for taking action against those responsible for the death due to medical negligence. Hibi Eden, the Congress MP, who visited the patient’s family, sent a letter to Vijayan, seeking a fair probe into the matter. Vijayan assured of steps to be taken in the matter at a Thiruvananthapuram press conference. He talked of how the pandemic is being handled better by the medical fraternity and its name should not be mired owing to such happenings. He added that the Government will probe the matter and ensure future prevention of such lapses, if any occurred, in this scenario. The authorities at the medical college have termed these allegations as completely baseless, untrue, and irresponsible and stated that the message was created by the nursing officer herself.

The authorities have stated that a message was created for making staff members more alert in their duties. The hospital has stated that the patient was admitted on the 26th of June, 2020, to the hospital with symptoms of COVID-19. The hospital has stated that the man did not recover from coronavirus until his unfortunate demise on the 20th of July, 2020. The patient had high blood pressure and diabetes while being overweight and suffering from breathing troubles. He was also ailing from COVID linked pneumonia as per the hospital and could not be shifted to the ward. He was put on NIV ventilator support and was not supported by a mechanical ventilator. There can be no misplacement of tubes while someone is on NIV ventilator support according to the hospital’s statement. The statement has been signed by V Satheesh, the Principal of the Medical College and Peter P Vazhayal, the Medical Superintendent, demanding strict action against people who circulated the audio clip on social media platforms.

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