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West Bengal: Deceased Coronavirus patient cremated without informing family members kept in quarantine, informed after 4 days

When the family contacted the hospital to learn about his health condition on May 5, they denied having any information about the patient. On May 6, when the family reached out to the hospital, they were informed that Sen had died on May 2 and that his body was cremated

The hospital staff of MR Bangur hospital in West Bengal had cremated the body of a 70-year-old Coronavirus patient without bothering to inform the family about his death or last rites, the family members have claimed.

Harinath Sen, who was paralysed on the right side of the body due to a brain stroke, was diagnosed with the Wuhan Coronavirus on April 29 at the NRS Medical College hospital. As such, he was shifted to West Bengal’s first Coronavirus hospital, MR Bangur hospital. On May 1, Sen’s family was informed that his health had deteriorated. Reportedly, the hospital authorities did not inform anything about the patient after May 1. As the family was in quarantine, they could not get regular updates in his health.

Family accuses hospital of ‘indifference’

When the family contacted the hospital to learn about his health condition on May 5, they denied having any information about the patient. On May 6, when the family reached out to the hospital, they were informed that Sen had died on May 2 and that his body was cremated.

The family of Harinath Sen was shell-shocked, learning about his fate. According to Harinath’s son, Arijit Sen, the hospital did not contact them after May 1. He revealed that the hospital neither bothered to inform about the death of his father nor the cremation. Arjit added, “Even the health department had no knowledge about my father’s case when we called them.”

Reportedly, the family was kept isolated at a quarantine Centre by the State Government when Harinath was being treated at the MR Bangur Hospital after testing positive for Coronavirus. Recounting his experience with the hospital staff, Arjit narrated, “When we called up the ward master again to recheck the information, a lady picked up the call and rudely told us that the body had been taken away by Kolkata Corporation.”

The woman refused to identify herself and said, “There is only one female staff deputed here between 10 am and 8 pm, everyone knows that. First tell me your name or else I will not share any information.”

The family has neither been handed the death certificate nor the medical documents of the deceased. They have instead been asked to contact the Topsia crematorium that is dedicated to Coronavirus patients. Harinath is now survived by his ailing wife, two sons, and daughters-in-law.

Hospital Denies Charges

The MR Bangur hospital has, however, denied all charges levelled against it. According to hospital superintendent Dr Sisir Naskar, the assistant superintendent had contacted the family as per the standard operating procedure. He added that the police are informed in cases where the family cannot be reached. On being asked about informing police in Harinath’s case, Dr. Sisir denied doing so.

The hospital superintendent informed that after family is briefed about the death of a Coronavirus patient, a report is sent to the Health Department and last rites are performed by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

West Bengal secretly disposing bodies

Earlier, it was reported that every night, special teams of cops and paramedics dispose of bodies of coronavirus victims across Bengal. A special incinerator has been created close to a highway that connects Kolkata with the Sundarbans where workers are disposing of a large number of bodies every day. Over 100 videos showing slugfests between cops and local residents over such silent cremation using kerosene and other fuels have surfaced on social media platforms.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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