'Fire exits were locked yet COVID-19 patient jumed'

All fire exits were locked in Victoria hospital, yet COVID-19 patient jumped: Nodal officer

Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru

The COVID-19 ward in Emergency and Trauma Care Centre on Victoria Hospital campus is currently housing 67 coronavirus positive patients including a few in the intensive care unit. The 50-year-old man, who committed suicide on Monday morning, was in the ICU and jumped from there after he requested permission to go to the bathroom, said the nodal officer.

Also read — 50-year-old coronavirus-positive patient ends life in Bengaluru

Dr Aseema Banu, nodal officer, Emergency and Trauma Care Centre said, "The patient came only on Friday and was directly admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There is a common toilet for the ICU. There is a changing time (of PPEs) for nurses, doctors and security. During this 'docking-donning' time, the maintenance personnel had gone to repair the lift on the seventh floor. We have locked all fire exits. I have the key. Only the ICU fire exit is open because the lift room is right on top of it. In this time gap, he (the patient) jumped." 

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"The patient had come for dialysis to the hospital but since all high-risk groups are being screened, his swab was taken for testing. He was asymptomatic and yet tested positive. He was ambulatory," Banu said.

Surprisingly, the member secretary of Karnataka State Mental Health Authority, Dr H Chandrashekar, who is the head of the department of psychiatry at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI), to which Victoria Hospital is affiliated to, told DH, that all 67 patients are screened for psychological wellbeing. 

"We have a team of psychologists who screen all COVID-19 patients for their general wellbeing, sleep and suicide intent scale. I have to check this particular patient's case sheet on whether his assessment was made and what it indicated. Our team does an everyday assessment," Dr Chandrashekar said. 

However, the doctor could not explain how this patient's depression was not picked up by the screening doctors. "This seems to be an impulsive decision. If a patient is depressed and even if he or she does not seek help, we pick up on non-verbal cues and necessary interventions are made," he said.

(Those in distress or those having suicidal tendencies can call Arogya Sahayavani helpline at 104 for help)