Retd. matron on extension dies at RGGGH

Hospital denies she had tested positive for COVID-19

May 28, 2020 11:32 pm | Updated 11:32 pm IST - CHENNAI

A 58-year-old matron of the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), who was on a two-month extension after retiring in March, died on Wednesday night. Hospital authorities said she had tested negative for COVID-19 twice and died due to multiple co-morbidities, even as confusion prevailed as she had been treated in the COVID-19 facility since the night of May 23.

R. Jayanthi, dean of RGGGH, said she had constituted an inquiry committee to look into the case.

In the light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the State government had extended the service of doctors and nurses who were retiring by two months. Priscilla Mary, a grade-I matron who retired in March after more than 30 years of service, was also on extension. Hospital authorities said she was posted on duty at the matron office and not in any COVID-19 ward.

Reliable sources in the hospital said that the case sheet had an entry stating that the matron was COVID-19 positive.

“It was documented in the case sheet, and that is why she was being treated in the Rheumatology Block, where all COVID-19 positive patients are being treated. She was initially on the first floor of the block, and later shifted to the third floor. She did have high blood sugar levels and electrolyte imbalances,” a source said.

Tested twice

Dr. Jayanthi said the matron was tested twice for COVID-19 — a month ago and on May 24 — and both results returned negative for the infection. “The result has been uploaded too. She died of uncontrolled diabetes, acute and chronic kidney disease, metabolic acidosis, sepsis and renal failure. She was not on COVID-19 duty and was only working in the matron office,” she clarified.

Case sheet entry

She said the entry in the case sheet could be a mistake. “We cannot meddle with the result. She was admitted to the COVID-19 ward as she had suspected symptoms. We have such patients in isolation rooms here. She was given a private room and a private nurse,” she said.

Hospital sources said that doctors had no access to COVID-19 reports.

“She had several co-morbid conditions. If she had tested negative, why should an immune-compromised person be kept in a ward close to high-risk sick patients? There is a separate intensive care unit for non-COVID patients in Tower 2,” a source said.

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