COVID-19: 'Safdarjung Hospital sends reports to death audit committee on 52 fatalities in last 2 months'

Last Updated 27 May 2020, 15:08 IST

The Safdarjung Hospital has submitted reports to the Delhi government's death audit committee on 52 fatalities that took place at the facility in the last two months, official sources said on Wednesday.

The sources said the death audit committee will go through the reports received from the hospital on Tuesday evening, which contain the death summaries of the deceased, to ascertain if these fatalities were due to COVID-19 or not.

"On Tuesday evening, the Safdarjung Hospital submitted reports on 52 fatalities that have taken place at the facility in the last two months. The reports have been submitted to the Delhi death audit committee.

"Until now, the hospital had sent reports on four deaths caused by COVID-19" an official source told PTI.

Dr Balvinder Singh, the medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, told PTI that officials of the Delhi government are constantly changing their COVID-19 death data collection teams because of which there has been a "miscommunication" among its own staffers.

Singh said the hospital has been reporting deaths on a daily basis and the accumulative data of COVID-19 deaths from February 1 to May 16 was misconstrued as a single day death which is very erroneous.

From February 1 to May 16, 53 COVID19-related deaths were reported to the Delhi government, he said, adding that 16 fatalities were recorded between May 16 and 26, taking the coronavirus death toll in the hospital to 69 so far.

"We have constituted a mortality review committee that meticulously compiles the data related to COVID-19 deaths and transmits it to the Union health ministry and also to the Delhi government as and when desired by them," Singh added.

According to sources, the Union Health Ministry had also sought a clarification from the hospital administration over the sudden spike in numbers of COVID-19 deaths being reported and it was informed about the same accordingly.

Earlier this month, Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev had issued an order, along with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), under which all COVID-19 hospitals and other facilities would email a "death report" to the district and state surveillance units everyday by 5 pm.

In the order, Dev said it has come to the notice of the government that public and private hospitals (both COVID-19 dedicated and non-COVID-19 hospitals) are not reporting deaths caused by the virus in a timely and regular manner.

Officials of the 10 hospitals treating COVID-19 patients had said that the number of people dead due to the virus was higher than what the Delhi government's bulletin reflected.

"It has also been observed that despite repeated reminders, the death summaries of the deceased are not being provided to the death audit committee leading to submission of "incorrect or delayed reports," the order had said.

The official death toll from coronavirus in Delhi has climbed to 303, while 792 fresh cases of COVID-19 infection reported on Wednesday, the highest single-day spike here, took the total in the city to over 15,000, authorities said.

The previous highest spike in fresh cases -- 660 -- was recorded on May 22.

(Published 27 May 2020, 15:07 IST)

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