A video of a man carrying the corpse of his 11-year-old daughter on his shoulders, apparently on his way to a crematorium, has attracted attention online as the COVID crisis continues to rage in the country, rendering resources difficult medical to come by.
The video comes out of the town of Jalandhar in the northern Indian state of Punjab, according to the Hindustan Times. There are conflicting reports as to whether the girl was diagnosed with COVID-19, although it appears she died due to an unrelated condition.
Migrant worker Dalip Kumar told local media that his 11-year-old daughter, Sonu, contracted a fever two months ago, which he initially tried to resolve with home remedies and those sold by street vendors. When no treatment worked, he took her to Jalandhar Civil Hospital where she was referred to Government Medical College (GMC) in Amritsar.
She was admitted to the surgical ward of Guru Nanak Hospital, which is part of GMC, according to the hospital certificate obtained by the India time. The certificate also states that “she was diagnosed with SAIO (subacute bowel obstruction)”. She died on May 9.
“I took her to Jalandhar Civil Hospital, from where she was sent to Amritsar Hospital. She was tested and treated for COVID-19 for a few days, but died on the 9th. May evening, “Kumar told The Times of India.
“That same night, I brought his body here in an ambulance after paying Rs 2,500 (US $ 34). The next day, I prepared his cremation and arranged three quintals of wood, ”he added.
The day after her death, Kumar contacted her neighbors for help, according to the Hindustan Times, asking for help transporting her to a crematorium to perform her final rites there. Some aspects of medical care in India, such as ambulances and hospital beds, have become difficult to find as the pandemic continues to cripple the country’s healthcare system, meaning many wait to go to hospital and are left to transport the sick or the dead. themselves. Fearing a possible COVID infection, neighbors refused.
Kumar then resumed the lonely walk captured in the video, carrying his daughter’s body on his shoulder as his son trailed behind. His neighbors arrived at the crematorium to pay homage from a distance, according to the Hindustan Times.
After the video started gaining attention on social media, Jalandhar’s deputy commissioner Ghanshyam Thori ordered an investigation.
In a statement released by Thori, according to The Times of India, he said: “According to an investigation by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) into the case, the cause of death was not COVID-19 like the young girl had tested him negative for the disease “and” the medical file of the civil hospital of Jalandhar also mentioned that the young girl had “acute gastroenteritis”.
He also said the crematorium protocol is only followed when the patient tests positive for COVID-19. Otherwise, the body is returned to the family so that they can make funeral arrangements.
Other reports, such as those from The Tribune, say the girl initially tested positive for COVID, which has led to some confusion and speculation online.
Although the cause of the girl’s death does not appear to have been directly due to COVID, the video has always touched the nerves of internet users, as many saw it as another heartbreaking example of India’s crumbling healthcare infrastructure. .
In April, another Indian video gained attention online, as it showed a son carrying the body of his deceased mother on a motorbike after being unable to secure an ambulance to transport her to a crematorium.