Monday, June 17, 2024

Man who killed himself after positive Covid rapid test wasn’t infected

Coahuila Social Security officials are on the defensive after a young man who was admitted to a hospital in Monclova with a positive result on a rapid Covd-19 test hung himself in a bathroom while awaiting results of a second confirmation test.

Hospital officials say the results of that second and more accurate test turned out to be negative.

Mario Alberto “M,” 29, arrived at the Monclova General Hospital last Saturday with proof of positive results on the rapid test that had been given elsewhere, as well as symptoms of the disease, including an oxygen saturation level of only 90%. Those factors convinced hospital officials to give him a confirmation Covid test, admitting him into a special area for coronavirus patients as they awaited the results.

On Monday, around noon, hospital officials said, the patient entered a hospital bathroom on his own and 20 minutes had not returned, which prompted a nurse to check on him. The nurse found the man dead, hanging from a sheet he had tied to the bathroom door.

Leopoldo Santillán, a Coahuila social security administrator, expressed regret over the incident but said that there were no plans to sanction the hospital staff in charge of caring for the young man.

“It was an unexpected incident,” he said. “We cannot take measures against staff because this wasn’t a case of homicide; it was a chance occurrence.”

The young man was ambulatory and capable of entering the bathroom by himself, Santillán said, adding that it was not the staff’s responsibility to accompany someone in Mario Alberto’s physical condition into a bathroom.

Regarding the Covid test the hospital administered, Santillán said it is hospital policy to confirm a rapid test with the PCR test saying, “That is the real confirmation, and his [PCR test] was negative.”

PCR, or polymerase chain reaction tests, are considered by the World Health Organization and the United States Food and Drug Administration to be the most accurate tests for detecting Covid-19. Conducted in a laboratory, the test checks for the presence of Covid-19’s genetic material, whereas rapid Covid-19 tests only detect the presence of virus antibodies in the blood.

Santillán would not speculate on specifics about why Mario Alberto took his life, although he said generally that all patients who have been hospitalized are typically under stress, aware of what could happen to them.

Under hospital protocol, Covid-19 patients are offered follow-up psychological counseling after being discharged, he said.

“The protocol states that they receive psychological support after leaving the hospital due to the anxiety that the disease leaves patients with,” he said. “We can’t predict if someone is already coming to us with anxiety. That is something that is attended to at the general practitioner level.”

The coronavirus has been a watershed moment for medical workers, he added, with unprecedented scenarios that have necessitated the perfecting of health care protocols.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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