Nima Wangdi 

Bhutan Medical and Health Council (BMHC) has launched an investigation into the death of a 34-year-old woman, a renal patient who was infected with Covid-19 and died in an isolation hotel in Thimphu last month.

The Ministry of Health stated that she died of cardiac complications due to underlying kidney disease probably exacerbated by the Covid-19 infection. The woman was a chronic kidney patient who was on dialysis and was referred to Thimphu from Phuentsholing.

The husband and the relatives of the deceased complained that they did not have basic necessities like enough blankets in the room neither they got health assistance in the hotel which resulted in the death of the patient.

A BHMC official said 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 official said they are still gathering information and will act as per their procedure. He said they are following up with relevant agencies.

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

The official said that they  would  also collect  reports  of  corrective measures put  in  place  to  prevent such incidences  in  the  future by the concerned  agencies  and  presented  them to the committee.

The official said the current movement restriction has delayed progress as they can’t move around.

He said, “We are not looking at penalising someone but looking into preventing similar lapses in future.”

“There are opportunities to identify the kinds of lapses that had occurred and fix them as a preventive measure,” he said. “We’re looking at such issues from the negative lens but holistically and learning through the mistakes we have made.”

He said, “If there are lapses, we would take it till the end of the cycle. Gathering information will be a continuous process but whether or not to proceed further will depend on other factors like the evidence we have.”

The official said BMHC could however deal with the case only if it involves registered health professionals.

The woman was living in a rented house in Phuentsholing prior to being referred to Thimphu. She was brought to Thimphu on January 27 in an ambulance but died early morning the next day.

The Opposition Leader, in a press release yesterday, stated that the Opposition Party was deeply concerned about the recent 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.”

“What is baffling is that the government had covered up and misled the nation on the circumstances of her death until the facts were revealed by her family members, and the government is to provide any explanation on the incident yet,” the press release stated.

The press release also stated, “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.”