A 59-year-old patient of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19 ) died in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal after he was left unattended for more than an hour in a parking lot of a private hospital on Monday evening, his family members alleged.

The man’s son said his father, who was suffering from a kidney ailment, was admitted to Peoples General Hospital on June 23 after he complained of breathing problem and low sugar level.

“On Sunday, the hospital administration got a Covid test done. The report came on Monday that suggested my father suffering from Covid-19. The Peoples Hospital called Chirayu Hospital, a Covid-19 designated private medical college’s hospital, for an ambulance to shift him there,” he said.

“The ambulance came at around 5pm and took my father. I also left the place but later in the evening, I came to know that my father was abandoned by Chirayu Hospital ambulance back at People’s hospital. The carelessness of staff of both the hospitals led to the death of my father. I want strict action against them,” he said.

Relatives of Covid-19 patients are not allowed to accompany them, he said.

The administration of Peoples General hospital, where the patient was allegedly abandoned, blamed Chirayu Medical College and Hospital for the death.

“The patient has been visiting the hospital for his dialysis for the past five years. He was referred to Chirayu Hospital after completing all the discharge formalities in an ambulance. After 20 minutes of discharge, the ambulance attendant called us that they are coming back and we should get ready to provide the man treatment at ICU,” Udayshankar Dixit, the Peoples Hospital’s manager said

“I asked him not to come back as we had already sealed our ICU as he was the first Covid-19 patient detected in our hospital for the safety of other patients. But instead of listening to us, they left the patient on a stretcher in the parking area. We arranged a PPE kit and provided the patient oxygen but he died,” said Dixit.

When contacted, Chirayu Hospital’s director Dr Ajay Goenka denied the allegations as “baseless to say that patient was left abandoned in parking”. He said the man was in a critical condition due to renal failure and was also suffering from a heart ailment.

“When a doctor from Peoples Hospital called us, our team of doctors inquired about the condition of the patient to send the ambulance accordingly but the doctor over the phone didn’t explain the condition. When the ambulance driver was taking the patient to Chirayu Hospital, he found that he was very critical and needed ventilator support,” Goenka said.

He said the ambulance driver called the Peoples Hospital and asked them to attend to the man as Chirayu Hospital was 45 minutes away.

“The ambulance driver urged the People’s Hospital to manage the patient for just 20 minutes till another ambulance from Chirayu equipped with a ventilator could reach there. First, the administration of Peoples Hospital refused to take the patient back. Later, it provided oxygen and CPR. When our second ambulance reached there the patient was found dead,” Goenka said.

As the photo and video of the man lying in the parking area went viral on social media, Zameel Khan, a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), reached the hospital and shifted the body to a morgue.

SDM Khan said tough action will be taken against whoever is found responsible for the man’s death.