Nima Wangdi and Ugyen Dorji 

Bhutan Medical and Health Council (BHMS) is still investigating the death of the 34-year-old woman that occurred in one of the isolation hotels in Thimphu almost three months ago.

The woman’s death was considered the fourth Covid-19 death in the country.

BHMC officials claimed they are trying to complete the investigation at the earliest, but refused to divulge any details on where the investigation has reached at the moment.

The deceased, who is a chronic kidney patient from Samtse, was living in a rented house in Phuentsholing and was undergoing dialysis prior to her referral to Thimphu. She was brought to Thimphu on January 27 in an ambulance after she tested positive to the virus in Phuntsholing, but died early morning the next day.

The Ministry of Health declared that she had died of cardiac complications due to underlying kidney disease probably exacerbated by the Covid-19 infection.

However, the husband and the relatives of the deceased complained that the deceased died of negligence as they did not receive health assistance in the hotel.

They also alleged the deceased did not have basic necessities like enough blankets in the room.

“She could have been saved if she received better health care and attention,” her husband said.

A BHMC official had earlier said that the council has not received any formal written complaint but they came to know about it from the media reports. “Actually the parties should file a formal complaint.”

The investigation started in February and BHMS officials then said that they were already gathering information and are also following up with all the relevant agencies.

Officials then claimed that movement restriction in February hampered their investigation since they could not move around.

Officials said they are not looking at penalising someone, but preventing similar lapses in future.

“There are opportunities to identify the kinds of lapses that had occurred and fix them as a preventive measure,” an official said.

As per BHMC procedure, the council collects all the information and then puts it up to the committee that will look into it.

“BMHC could, however, deal with the case only if it involves registered health professionals,” an official said.

The Opposition Leader had also issued a press release then, stating that the Opposition Party was deeply concerned about the death of a 34-year-old woman, who was Covid-19 positive and comorbid. “She was reported to have succumbed totally due to logistical and medical negligence.”

The opposition party had also accused the government of covering up and misleading the nation on the circumstances of her death until her family members revealed the facts. “We call upon the government to provide full explanations to the nation on this most unfortunate incident, embrace accountability and put measures to avoid such mishaps in future.”