VIJAYAWADA: A 63-year-old man allegedly went missing from a Covid State Hospital in Vijayawada after he was taken there on June 24. Though the man, T Vasantha Rao, tested negative for coronavirus, his relatives took him to the New Government General Hospital (GGH) on the advice of a private doctor, as he was suffering from cough and breathlessness. But when his wife went there to visit him the next day, he was missing.
The police found CCTV footage of Vasantha Rao being taken into the hospital on a wheelchair, but couldn’t find visuals of him coming out. Hospital authorities said they were unaware of his whereabouts, and asserted that he was only an out-patient (OP) and not admitted as an in-patient. Though the incident happened more than a week ago, it came to light only on Thursday after Vasantha Rao’s wife Dhanalakshmi fainted while going to submit a representation to Krishna collector A Md Imtiaz. B Ramesh, a friend of the missing man, told TNIE that Vasantha Rao’s elder brother died of health complications on June 18, and since Rao’s health was not stable, he got his samples tested for coronavirus, and the results returned negative.
On June 23, Vasantha Rao and his wife visited a private hospital as he was suffering from respiratory problems. The doctors there suggested he get examined at the GGH, Dhanalakshmi said, adding that they went there around 1.30 pm the next day. “I waited at the hospital till 5.30 pm and returned home as the medical staff said the test results might come late, and asked me to bring his Aadhaar card the following day. I went there with the Aadhaar card for the next two days, but could not get any information about him. The hospital authorities bluntly stated that nobody named Vasantha Rao was admitted,” Dhanalakshmi said.
“Vexed with the behaviour of the hospital staff, we lodged a complaint at the One-Town Police Station on June 29. How can a person with a low pulse rate and respiratory issues leave the hospital on his own?” Ramesh asked, adding that they are seeking help from the collector. One-Town Circle Inspector P Venkateswaralu told TNIE that the police have registered a missing case and launched an investigation.
“We verified the CCTV footage of the hospital, and saw Vasantha Rao being taken in on a wheelchair by a hospital staff wearing a PPE kit. We are gathering details of the staff who were on duty on June 24,” he said. GGH superintendent Dr P Nanacharaiah was not available for comment. Asked about the incident, Resident Medical Officer (RMO) Dr Sobha said that Vasantha Rao enrolled for out-patient services and there is no documented proof of his admission to the hospital. However, she maintained that she was not aware of the details.