Declared dead, Covid patient returns home after recovery
Shibdas Banerjee, 75, was infected with the coronavirus and later pronounced dead and cremated on November 13. But then Banerjee returned to his family in Birati in the 24 Parganas district of North Bengal on Friday evening as preparations for his shraddh were being made following Hindu rituals.
There is more to what staff at Balaram Basu hospital in Khardah, located in the same district, where Banerjee was admitted on November 4, are describing as a misstep and apathy. The state health department is investigating the matter.
The man who died and was cremated on November 13 by Banerjee’s son, Sanjib, was one Mohinimohan Mukherjee, 75, a resident of Khardah in the same district and a retired employee of the local civic body.
Mukherjee was also admitted to Balaram Basu hospital on November 4, but was transferred to the Covid-19 hospital in Barasat in North 24 Parganas on November 7, health department officials said. However, the medical records that were sent with him to Barasat hospital belonged to Banerjee. Records were exchanged, and Banerjee remained under treatment as Mohinimohan Mukherjee until he recovered.
The truth came to light on Friday when Balaram Basu hospital staff called Mukherjee’s family to inform them that he was ready for discharge as he had tested negative for Covid-19 after treatment.
“When I went to the hospital, I was surprised to see a different person sitting in a wheelchair,” Mukherjee’s son Sandip told local media. “The hospital authorities realized they had committed a wrong step and informed Banerjee’s family,” he added.
Banerjee’s family took him home Friday night.
The district health department has formed a four-member committee to investigate the incident. “This is really unfortunate. The report of the investigative committee has been sent to the state health department and the necessary measures will be taken, ”said District Medical Director of Health (CMOH) Tapas Roy while speaking to the media.
Banerjee’s family did not speak to the media until Sunday afternoon.