A 36-year-old inmate of the Negombo Prison who was admitted to the District General Hospital, Negombo, with symptoms similar to COVID-19, died from injuries sustained from a fall from the hospital’s eighth floor.
The patient, who was allegedly a drug addict, was admitted on 12 July, complaining of chest pain. He also had a cough and experienced difficulty in breathing, hospital sources said.
Due to the symptoms, he had been admitted to the High Dependency Unit (HDU) situated inside the ward allocated for patients with COVID-19, they said, adding that additionally, his legs were chained to the bed as he was a prisoner. A polymerase chain reaction test had been administered on him and was negative.
Responding to questions as to whether Prison Officers had been inside the particular ward at all times, they said that two Prison Officers had been stationed outside the ward. If they were to be placed inside the ward, they would have had to wear personal protective equipment, they noted.
However, when Hospital staff had looked for the patient on 13 July night, the bed was empty and it was noticed that the chains had been broken. A subsequent search revealed that the patient’s body was on the ground floor. Investigations were being carried out into the death at present including the conduct of a post-mortem examination to ascertain whether the death was due to an accidental fall or an intentional one. The body of the prisoner is placed inside a body bag, sources said. The 36-year- old was in prison in connection with a drug related offence.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Tharaka Samman)