BMO Told by Senior to Ferry a COVID-19 Patient in his Vehicle


District Hospital Bandipora

Ejaz-ul-Haq/Auqib Javeed

Bandipora: Negligence of senior healthcare officials in Baramulla and Bandipora in handling a COVID-19 positive patient may have led to several more people contracting infection in the two districts. The officials let a senior doctor and his driver get close to the patient in violation of the official protocol, compromising their health and those who met them later, including their families.    

On Tuesday, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Bandipora Dr Tajamul ordered his deputy to ferry a COVID-19 patient from Government Medical College  Baramulla to Dak Bunglow Bandipora. Complying with the orders, Block Medical Officer Dr Asif went to the hospital and transported the patient in his official vehicle, in  violation of Standard Operating Procedure.

“I was returning from home when the CMO asked  me to pick up a patient from Baramulla hospital,” Asif told Kashmir Observer. “I followed the orders of my senior”.

The 22-year-old Bandipora resident had only recently returned to Kashmir from Andhra Pradesh where he is pursuing his studies. He was admitted at the GMC Baramulla on Monday and put under quarantine after he showed symptoms of COVID-19. His swabs were sent for laboratory test which later came  positive.

But while the result of the  test was still awaited, the BMO was asked to shift him to Bandipora where he was quarantined at Dak Bangalow. It is then that the CMO learnt that the student had tested COVID-19 positive, obliging him to transfer him back to GMC Baramulla.

The BMO and his driver are now under quarantine, so are the employees of the BMO’s office at Kaloosa Bandipora where he had gone after dropping the student at Dak Bangalow. In addition, the health of their families is also now under cloud.

The sequence of bungling unfolded like this:  Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Syed Masood Bukhari asked the CMO Bandipora to take back the student to Bandipora. The CMO Bandipora, in turn, asked BMO Bandipora to shift the patient who ferried him in his official vehicle.

Now CMO Bandipora claims that he was not told by the MS Baramulla that the patient’s tests were awaited, who, in turn, claims he had done so. Dr Bukhari says he had also mentioned on discharge certificate of the patient that his samples had been taken for the testing.

But Dr Tajamul disputes this. He asserts that the BMO who shifted the patient “was wearing full protective gear and so was the driver of the vehicle”.
“We took all safety measures,” he said.

The development has sent district administration into a tizzy. Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora Shahbaz Mirza held an emergency meeting on Tuesday. He has blamed Medical Superintendent, Baramulla for the negligence.

 “Our officers were misled that the boy had come from Bangladesh and needs to be quarantined,” Mirza said. “The Medical Superintendent didn’t tell them that the boy had tested positive to coronavirus”.

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