CHENNAI: Amidst the debate whether the COVID 19 deaths and cases are underreported, a few COVID patients who have been discharged from government hospitals said they were not provided with discharge summary, despite requesting for it. Also, some of the 'summary', got it in a single page with no proper details and some got it without authorised signature from the hospital.
"In May, seven of my family members were tested for COVID-19 including me. Since four of them had only mild infection, they were taken to a care center. My father aged 60 and grandmother aged 75 were admitted at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. They did not get any discharge summary. They demanded the hospital for it, but they did not give saying they are not issuing discharge summary for anyone," said one of the recovered patients from Mogappair.
Not just them, a few of people had to demand for discharge summary for days, he added. "Two of my friends had to ask for days before getting the summary. If we do not get a summary, we won't have a record of us getting admitted in a hospital at all. I suspect the government is hiding cases this way," he said.
Even the patients who got the summary, said it did not have any details. "I was admitted along with 60 other patients in Omandurar government hospital. All of us got only a single page 'summary', which only mentioned discharge date, diagnosis and discharge advice. There are no details on the treatment given or anything else. We at least got the summary, I know a dozen people who did not get the summary at all. There is no record in the government that they were tested positive," said a 30-year-old recovered patient who wished to stay anonymous.
Adding, another man from the same cluster said those admitted in Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital and Stanley Medical College Hospital got only handwritten discharge slips. "The slips do not even look like the authorised ones from the hospital. Also, if treatment details are not mentioned, when the same patient suffers any other infection or disease, the doctor then treating him/her will have no details about their past medication. That can be very dangerous and even prove fatal in a few cases."
"There are numerous cases where patients did not get discharge summary. Not just this, when people go for testing in private labs, they give a report, whereas the government doesn't do it. They only tell you when you are positive and do not inform at all if the person is negative. This itself is a way to hide cases," said David Manohar, civic activist from Arappor Iyakkam.
When contacted, officials from Omandurar Government hospital and RGGGH denied that they were not giving discharge summaries. An official from the Omandurar hospital also said people who did not get discharge summaries are those who could have possibly 'ran away'. However, activists say if people are openly demanding for it, how could they have run away.
An official from Stanley Medical College Hospital said most patients after being stabilised are being sent to care centers. So, there could be some issues in the Care centers. Also, about the handwritten summaries, he said it could have happened in one off cases where the discharged patient is in a hurry and the doctors had to handle large number of patients.