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In Telangana, hospitals see steady rush for COVID-death documents

Number of applications likely to shoot up with NMDA’s ex-gratia recommendation

Government hospitals in the State have been witnessing a steady flow of applications for death summary of those who succumbed to COVID-19. Now, rush for the document, which mentions the ‘cause of death’, is expected to intensify with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) recommending ex-gratia of ₹50,000 to the kin of coronavirus victims.

The Ministry of Home Affairs apprised the Supreme Court of the recommendation recently. Financial aid would be extended, provided that the death is certified as having been caused by COVID-19.

Following a person’s death, the hospital concerned issues a slip containing details such as name, duration of treatment, as well as time and date of death. This helps in clearing paper-work during funeral rites. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation issues a death certificate, also containing the same details along with the place of death. However, cause of death is mentioned in the ‘Death Summary’ which is issued by a government hospital administration only upon application.

Currently, administrative officials at Gandhi Hospital, District Hospital at King Koti, Government General and Chest Hospital, and other health facilities that have been treating COVID-19 patients are receiving a good number of applications for death summary on a daily basis.

“We receive 10-15 applications in a day. It is issued based on availability of the doctor who treated the patient,” said T. Prabhakar Reddy, COVID-19 nodal officer at Gandhi Hospital.

Some insurance companies also ask the bereaved family for this particular document to process their claim.

The request for such applications at Gandhi Hospital is high since it received the highest number of patients when it was turned into an exclusive COVID-care facility during the first and second waves of the pandemic. Other government hospitals were also dedicated for COVID treatment, but their patient burden was comparatively lower.

Even prior to the NDMA’s recommendation of ₹50,000 ex gratia, family members of COVID victims had been approaching hospitals, enquiring about any other financial assistance.

“People read things on WhatsApp and ask us about ex-gratia in case of COVID-19 deaths. But we have not received guidelines regarding any form of ex-gratia yet,” an administrative official of another government hospital said.

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