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Hospitals Cannot Show Deaths As Non-COVID Deaths If Antigen Tests Showed Suspected COVID Infection : Allahabad High Court

Akshita Saxena
12 May 2021 6:40 AM GMT
Hospitals Cannot Show Deaths As Non-COVID Deaths If Antigen Tests Showed Suspected COVID Infection : Allahabad High Court
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The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday directed that deaths of persons who were suspected to be affected by the Covid-19 virus after antigen tests will be computed as Covid-deaths for the purposes of maintaining records and disposal of bodies. The Court noted that there has been a decline in the number of testing been conducted in the State and as a natural corollary...

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The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday directed that deaths of persons who were suspected to be affected by the Covid-19 virus after antigen tests will be computed as Covid-deaths for the purposes of maintaining records and disposal of bodies.

The Court noted that there has been a decline in the number of testing been conducted in the State and as a natural corollary people experiencing Covid-like symptoms are often not subjected to RT-PCR or other verified Covid-tests and their deaths are not reported as Covid-deaths.

A Division Bench comprising of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar noted that this is a "serious issue" as the dead bodies of such Covid-suspected persons are being handed over to their families, which may increase the risk of further transmission.

"The statistics which has been given in the affidavit qua testing in State surprisingly discloses that a number of testing has been reduced gradually…

If no True Natt is there and if antigen turned out negative of a patient, such patient's case is taken as suspected one only and so no Covid protocol is followed and if he dies, his dead body is handed over to the members of family of the deceased without Covid protocol. It is quite a serious issue.

Even if it is the case of suspected death of Covid patients for antigen testing, we are of the view that all such cases of death should be taken as Covid deaths and no hospital can be permitted to hold these cases as non- Covid cases so as to reduce number of Covid deaths in that particular hospital," it observed.



The direction comes after the Principal of Medical College, Meerut informed the Court that out of 20 persons who allegedly died there due to lack of Oxygen, only three of them had Covid positive report, and the others were put to antigen test which turned out to be negative.

He stated that such deaths cannot be attributed to the Covid infection as those were only suspected cases.

Unable to accept this explanation, the Bench observed,

"In our considered opinion in these days of Covid surge, if a person is admitted to the hospital with ILI (Influenza like infection) and where only antigen testing has taken place or in the event RTPCR is delayed and in the meanwhile patient dies and if such deceased persons had no history of having cardiac or kidney problem then, presumption should be raised that such death was caused by Covid infection only for the limited purpose of maintaining records and also following Covid protocol for the disposal of dead body."

It observed that the Government officials and the hospitals cannot be permitted to "shirk away" from their responsibility in ensuring that dead body of such deceased persons is disposed of strictly as per the Covid Protocol.

"Nobody is admitted to a hospital unless he has landed himself in a condition where the SPO2 level has gone down i.e. below 94 and, therefore, to take such deaths as non- Covid deaths would be a blunder," the Bench remarked.

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Case Title: In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres…

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