Tamil Nadu

Viral video of ‘body being dumped’ in Tiruchi causes stir

A screenshot from the video being circulated on social media

A screenshot from the video being circulated on social media   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A video clip showing the body of a COVID-19 infected person, who died at the Tiruchi SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre in Irungalur on June 16, being dumped in a thicket in Kottamedu, near the hospital, has gone viral on social media.

The hospital has, however, claimed that the video clip has been edited to bring disrepute to the institution. The district administration has ordered an inquiry into the matter.

In the video clip, three men, one of whom is wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) seem to be taking a body out of the rear door of a van apparently belonging to the Tiruchi SRM Medical College Hospital. One man shouts, “I cannot walk down the slope,” to which the man behind the camera shouts “Leave it there itself.” The three men then go on to leave the body behind a bush and walk towards the van.

The body in question belongs to a 74-year-old man hailing from Kallakurichi who was admitted to the SRM Medical College Hospital at around 6 a.m. on June 15 with symptoms of the viral infection. He had pre-existing health conditions such as hypertension and pulmonary edema. Due to these complications, the patient died at around 5 p.m. on June 15, hospital sources said.

A COVID-19 test sample was taken and sent to the Tiruchi K. A. P. Viswanatham Government Medical College Hospital for testing and the body was kept in the hospital mortuary until the test results arrived.

After the tests indicated that the man was positive for COVID-19 on June 16, at 2.30 p.m., the body was handed over to relatives and government authorities. “The body was taken as per protocol in a hospital ambulance to the burial ground, by government officials,” said N. Balasubramanian, Dean and Deputy Director, SRM Medical College Hospital.

In a statement along with photographs of the purported burial of the body, Dr. Balasubramanian said that the cropped video circulating on social media is false and a deliberate attempt to bring disrepute to the hospital.

The burial ceremony took place near Irungalur as per the government-stipulated norms by government officials. Throughout this process the deceased person was handled with due respect and was not dishonoured, Dr. Balasubramanian said.

“This was completely video recorded and images were taken by government officials for documentation purposes. But some anti-social element of the society has cropped the video with a malicious motive and circulated it on social media, as if the paramedical staff have violated the norms,” Dr. Balasubramanian said. He added that he would submit a complaint to the Commissioner of Police and a petition to the District Collector to investigate the matter. “We are sacrificing our health and well-being by caring for these patients. If incidents like these occur, we will all be demoralised,” he added.

S. Sivarasu, District Collector, told The Hindu that the Joint Director of Health Services has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the matter. “We will find out what has happened soon,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:09:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/viral-video-of-body-being-dumped-in-tiruchi-causes-stir/article31912876.ece

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