Family shocked by ‘fake’ Covid-19 death news

Published April 5, 2020
The news channel tickers also claimed that the hospital MS and Sahiwal Medical College principal were in isolation. — Reuters/File
The news channel tickers also claimed that the hospital MS and Sahiwal Medical College principal were in isolation. — Reuters/File

SAHIWAL: A family here was left to deal with trauma after one of its members who had just passed away was allegedly falsely declared by a television channel to have died of coronavirus.

Mr Alamdar, an expatriate Pakistani, told Dawn on Saturday that a a Karachi-based TV channel alleged “without any circumstantial medical evidences” that his wife Fauzia (42) died at the local district headquarters teaching hospital on April 3 of coronavirus. Almadar, now residing in Shadman Town here said his wife was a chronic patients of ‘Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis” for the last seven years and was being treated by her New York-based physician.

A few years back, Mr Alamdar had moved to the US and later was given American nationality along with his wife.

Alamdar told Dawn that now he was working for New York State Task Force and was also a founding member of US-based Human Rights Commission for Overseas Pakistani.

He regretted airing of “fake news” by the channel without even confirming the fact from the grieving family or local doctors involved in his late wife’s treatment.

Alamdar said his wife on April 2 complained of pain in chest and breathing problem. She was taken to the emergency ward of the DHQ Hospital and was admitted there under registration number 144. Hospital sources confirmed her condition was not stable and she was admitted to the ICU the same day.

“Later she died of a cardiac arrest on the morning of April 3 at the ICU,” the MS said in his statement.

The news channel tickers also claimed that the hospital MS and Sahiwal Medical College principal were in isolation. MS Dr Waheed denied it.

Mr Alamdar said the fake news was an additional shock to his family.

“I am already disturbed because of untimely death of my beloved wife and now we have been forced to live in isolation,” he lamented. He said he and his family voluntarily gave their samples for the virus test.

The family was busy making arrangements of Alamdar’s son Musa Alamdar when the tragedy struck them.

Alamdar said he reserved the right to take legal action against the TV channel for airing a fake news that caused “discomfort and damage to my family’s reputation”.

Dr Abdul Waheed said as a precaution and following safety protocols, the hospital staff involved in Ms Fauzia treatment had been advised to quarantine themselves at their homes as Mr Alamdar had foreign travel history.

Dr Zahid Kamal Saddiqi, principal, chief executive officer, Sahiwal Medical College, stated the patient was visited by a team of pulmonologist, medical specialists and Covid 19 experts headed by Dr Waseem during her admittance at hospital’s ICU and there was no symptoms of coronavirus.

The death certificate issued by the Department of Anesthesia, also clearly states the cause of death was “cardiopulmonary arrest”.

MS Dr Abdul Waheed, in a statement issued on Saturday, said the deceased woman was not even a suspected Covid-19 patient.

Her travel documents including e-ticket (2357493989641, Turkish Airline) shows Ms Fauzia flew from New York to Lahore via Istanbul on Jan 26, 2020. Her husband categorically denied she had ever traveled to Iran or any other place during the past one year.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2020

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