National

AIIMS sanitation chief dies of COVID

NEW DELHI, MAY 25 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 5/25/2020 1:49:21 PM IST

Senior sanitation supervisor at AIIMS, New Delhi, Heera Lal never missed a day on duty—until COVID-19 struck him last Tuesday and took him away on Monday morning.

An ever-smiling professional, whose job required him to be in constant touch with disinfection staff, cleaners, and ward boys, Lal developed early disease symptoms on Tuesday and was gone in a week off. Speaking to The Tribune, Kuldip Singh, General Secretary of AIIMS New Delhi SC, ST Association lamented that the Institute only conducted a blood test on Heera Lal when he initially fell ill.
“He was asked to go home and rest and come back if symptoms progress. His condition suddenly worsened two days ago and he was rushed to the emergency where he was put on ventilator support. It was too late by then. It was also only when he was brought to the emergency that his COVID 19 test was done. We are distraught,” Singh told The Tribune today. 
He also said Heera Lal, who handled the entire sanitation effort at AIIMS, did not have protective gear. 
Heera Lal himself has been on duty ever since the COVID pandemic struck.
Senior doctors at AIIMS remember him for his smiling face and enthusiastic spirit.
Now that he’s gone, he leaves behind many questions about the constant dangers sanitation staffers at crowded hospitals are facing.
It remains to be seen if ICMR’s new directions to administer hydroxychloroquine to COVID warriors in containment zones covers cleaners and sanitation warriors, who are the bedrock of hospital disinfection in these critical times.
Only two days ago former AIIMS HOD Medicine JN Pande had also died of COVID.

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