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Coronavirus | Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre handed back to gas tragedy survivors

Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) in Bhopal. | File   | Photo Credit: A.M. Faruqui

The Madhya Pradesh government on Wednesday rescinded an order converting the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) into a COVID-19 dedicated facility, which denied healthcare to the 1984 gas tragedy survivors there.

Also read | Bhopal gas survivors left in the lurch

The decision comes after five survivors, four suffering from respiratory ailments and one from cancer, died of the illness in Bhopal in the past 10 days. The ailments made them more susceptible to the coronavirus and they were left with no other super speciality government-run hospital after BMHRC was taken over to combat the pandemic. Four of them could not even be tested for the illness before they died.

‘Orders rescinded’

The Indian Council of Medical Research-run hospital was taken over by the State government on March 23, and later handed over to the district administration on March 28. “Both the orders stand rescinded with immediate effect,” wrote Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Commissioner, Public Health and Family Welfare Department, in an order.

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The facility’s laboratory, however, will be used for testing samples, he clarified. With the amendment in the previous order designating hospitals, there are four COVID-19 hospitals in Bhopal now, two government, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and two private.

Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal group for Information and Action said rights groups hoped the OPD (Out Patient Department) and emergency services at the BMHRC would open doors from Thursday.

Compensation demanded

The BMHRC and the six State government-run gas relief hospitals, she demanded, should immediately reach out to lungs, heart, kidney, cancer and tuberculosis patients registered with them and ensure their coronavirus testing. She further demanded ₹50 lakh as compensation to families of the five who died of COVID-19, and reimbursement of their treatment cost at private hospitals.

Also read | Anxiety grips Bhopal gas tragedy survivors as hospital designated as COVID-19 facility

As many as 65 patients were discharged from the hospital after it was converted, said Purnendu Shukla, member, Supreme Court’s Monitoring Committee on Gas Victims. “What is important here is that three of them died later,” he said.

Besides, 32 patients were referred to the Kamla Nehru Gas Relief Hospital where patients had to face several issues. “Several cases of negligence came before them,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 3:59:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-bmhrc-handed-back-to-bhopal-gas-tragedys-survivors/article31348873.ece

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