According to the panelist, the principal objective of the committee is to study the death of COVID-19 patients and find out more about the character of the virus.
The audit committee constituted by the West Bengal government to ascertain if a death was due to COVID-19 or a pre-existing ailment will henceforth study only select coronavirus cases and submit its report to the government, a senior member of the panel said on Sunday.
The committee, after having given its set of recommendations for certifying COVID-19-related death cases, will deal with “peculiar” coronavirus cases, he said. The panel had recently examined 105 deaths in the state, following which it attributed 33 cases to the disease and the rest to co-morbidities.
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“The experts committee for conducting an audit into the deaths of COVID-19 will now on look into peculiar cases and not into all deaths. We have not been given any fresh sample for examination after we filed our report on those 105 deaths,” the committee member told PTI.
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According to the panelist, the principal objective of the committee is to study the death of COVID-19 patients and find out more about the character of the virus. “There are several questions in the mind of the common people about the disease. As there is no study or database in this regard, the government wanted set up a treatment and containment protocol to understand the symptoms… and how that kept changing from the preliminary to aggravated stage. “And in case of deaths, how many days did the virus take to reach that stage when the infected person finally succumbs,” he explained.
The panel, he said, has formed a list of dos and don’ts for medical practitioners treating novel coronavirus cases and certifying deaths. “We analysed, researched and formed a list of recommendations for the doctors to treat and certify deaths because of COVID-19,” the member said. The committee will now on collect samples from hospitals for examination, and will give necessary suggestions to the health department, if there are new findings.
“This panel will not certify any coronavirus-related death. We will now go for random collection of samples from hospitals. In case of any new or peculiar finding, we will inform the state health department and make our recommendations,” he said.
The panel had earlier noted that there was scope for improvement in medical record-keeping at COVID-19 hospitals, following which Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said the health department would soon issue an advisory. “During our research we found that the death certificates were issued without following the norms set by the WHO and the ICMR for COVID-19 deaths. Those certificates should have included the immediate cause of death, antecedent cause of death and underlying cause of death. The medical record-keeping requires uniformity and that’s the responsibility of hospital authorities,” the panelist said.
An advisory, once issued by the government, will definitely help hospitals in understanding the character of the disease and how to deal with it, he said. West Bengal has registered 48 deaths due to Covid-19. The total number of people infected by Covid-19 in West Bengal stands at 886. Of them, 624 are active cases and 199 have recovered. The Union Health ministry has put the figure at 922.