Gulmi teacher succumbs to coronavirus


Kathmandu/Rupandehi, May 21

A 41-year-old man from Gulmi district who had been undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit of Crimson Hospital in Tilottama Municipality of Rupandehi district succumbed to the novel coronavirus disease today, becoming the third person to die of the respiratory contagion in Nepal.

According to Health Division Chief of the Ministry of Social Development in Province 5, Uma Shankar Chaudhary, the patient, who was a school teacher, breathed his last at 7:14am while undergoing treatment at the hospital.

The Ministry of Social Development of the province issued a statement today confirming the death of the patient, adding that despite their best efforts, doctors could not save him.

The patient, a resident of Madane Rural Municipality in Gulmi, was brought to Rupandehi in an ambulance on May 14. According to the hospital, he was admitted for the treatment of Sepsis with multi-organ dysfunction syndrome.

During treatment, his swab sample was screened at the Provincial Public Health Laboratory using polymerase chain reaction method on May 15. Coronavirus was found in the swab on May 18.

Yesterday, Crimson Hospital scotched rumours that the patient had died after some media outlets published the news of his death while undergoing treatment.

The deceased’s kin, who are in quarantine, have alleged that proper medical treatment was not provided to the patient. “He was just put on ventilator. No medical intervention was done to save him,” Bishnu Oli, one of
the relatives, who came with the patient, alleged.

The deceased’s family has refused to accept his body.

Hospital management, however, has refuted the allegation. “Despite our best efforts we could not save the patient,” hospital Chairman Chintamani Pande said.

Government authorities have not been able to figure out who infected the teacher.

Chief District Officer of Gulmi Bharat Kumar Sharma told THT over the phone that the administration had sealed Madane Rural Municipality and sent swab samples of 32 people who had come into contact with the deceased for screening. “The deceased had not travelled outside the district. I do not know how he contracted the disease,” Sharma said. As of today, the deceased is the only COVID-19 positive case in the district.

Sharma said there was risk of infection in the district, as almost 3,000 people had returned from across India during the lockdown.

Rajendra Giri, chief of Rupandehi Health Office, who is also the chief of Bhairahawa Laboratory, told THT over the phone that his office traced 29 people who had come into contact with the deceased and collected their swab samples. Results of 10 of them are still awaited, but 19 have tested negative.

Assistant Chief District Officer of Arghakhanchi district Bishnu Raj Belbase told THT over the phone that 10 health professionals of Chhaya Medical in the district had come into contact with the deceased when he had gone for treatment before being admitted to Crimson Hospital of Rupandehi. Authorities have got all of them screened for COVID-19. None of them was diagnosed with the disease. Belbase said the administration had sealed the  clinic and quarantined the 10 contacts of the deceased for the next two weeks. The deceased had visited clinics in his home district of Gulmi and neighbouring Arghakhanchi district.

Earlier, a 29-year-old new mother from Sindhupalchowk district and a 25-year-old man from Banke district had succumbed to the disease.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 22, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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