MADURAI: A 39-year-old daily-wage worker became the first frontline worker of Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) to succumb to Coronavirus infection.
The deceased, K Velmurugan, was a native of Thirumangalam and was residing at Thanakkankulam near Thirunagar. He had been working at GRH for over a decade and had been drawing a salary of Rs 15,000.
According to hospital sources, Velmurugan died at the hospital around 7.15 am on Thursday. His work included moving patients on wheelchairs, stretchers and to carry hospital ledgers. He had been posted on duty at the review outpatient clinic of department of general medicine (ward number 14) for the past couple of months.
"On July 26 alone, he was on afternoon duty at Trauma Care Centre (TCC) block of the hospital where COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment. However, he was not posted in COVID-19 ward and he only assisted in moving oxygen cylinders," said his wife V Valarmathi.
In the same night, after returning from work, Velmurugan complained of breathlessness and body chills, she said, adding that he was tested positive for the virus infection on Wednesday.
GRH sources said that he was initially admitted to the casualty ward and was later shifted to TCC block the next morning (July 27) around 5.30 am.
Speaking to TNIE, Dean of the hospital Dr J Sangumani said that Velmurugan, a daily-wage worker was the first GRH staff to succumb to COVID-19 and that he had pre-existing respiratory ailments namely pneumothorax and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Meanwhile, Valarmathi said that he had undergone treatment for interstitial lung disease some eight months ago and had recovered well and was leading a normal life until Sunday. "He was the sole breadwinner of the family and he wanted to make our daughter a nurse. The family is yet to come to terms with the loss," she added.