A 37-year-old journalist undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Trauma Centre in Delhi died after allegedly jumping off the fourth floor of the hospital building on Monday afternoon. A massive controversy has now erupted over his death with journalists demanding a thorough probe into the matter.
Some people claim that journalist Tarun Sisodiya had expressed his fear of being murdered in one of the WhatsApp chats. Though we are not in a position to authenticate the claim, the screenshot of the WhatsApp chat is going viral on the internet.
— Mausami Singh/मौसमी लखनवी (@mausamii2u) July 6, 2020
“Is it a suicide case or brutal murder of tarun sisodiya, a young journalist, who was admitted in AIIMS, delhi, due to covid19 infection ..? Immediate inquiry needed..(sic),” a Congress leader tweeted.
Is it a suicide case or brutal murder of tarun sisodiya, a young journalist, who was admitted in AIIMS, delhi, due to covid19 infection ..? Immediate inquiry needed.. #ShameModi #ShameKejriwal pic.twitter.com/DKT9zHIgyb
— Shubham Sharma (@ShubhamSh_) July 6, 2020
According to a statement issued by AIIMS said he was admitted to AIIMS Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre on June 24 with COVID-19.
The statement said that the journalist was having bouts of disorientation for which he was seen by a neurologist and psychiatrist and put on medication.
“The family members were regularly counselled regarding his condition. At around 1.55 pm today, he ran out of TC-1 where he was admitted. Hospital attendants ran after him and tried to stop him. He ran to the fourth floor where he broke a windowpane and jumped out,” the hospital said in the statement.
The journalist used to work for a Hindi daily and lived with his wife and two children in northeast Delhi’s Bhajanpura.
Meanwhile, some journalists held a peaceful protest outside the Press Club of India in the national capital and demanded justice for Tarun.
दैनिक भास्कर के पत्रकार @TarunSisodiaN18 ने AIIMS में संदिग्ध परिस्थितियों में चौथी मंजिल से कूद कर जान दे दी. आज पत्रकारों ने प्रेस क्लब ऑफ इंडिया के बाहर तरूण को इंसाफ दिलाने के लिए शांतिपूर्वक प्रोटेस्ट किया@SandhyaTimes4u @NBTDilli @drharshvardhan @ArvindKejriwal @msisodia pic.twitter.com/JgQYuJwi3N
— सूरज सिंह/Suraj Singh 🇮🇳 (@SurajSolanki_ST) July 7, 2020
Following the incident, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asked the AIIMS director to set a panel to probe the matter.
“I ordered AIIMS Director to immediately constitute an official inquiry into this incident, following which a high-level committee has been set up & shall submit its report within 48 hours.”
Deeply shocked & saddened by the death of young journalist Shri Tarun Sisodia ji.
It was a most unfortunate incident. I have no words to express my grief.
My condolences to his whole family,esp his wife & young children
May God give them the strength to bear this irreparable loss pic.twitter.com/nAUb0ky0AO
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) July 6, 2020
The inquiry committee consists of Chief of Neuroscience Centre, Prof Padma, Head of Psychiatry Dept, Prof RK Chaddha, Dy Dir (Admn) Sh Panda & Head, Physical Medicine & Rehab Dr U Singh. My deep condolences to media community that is shaken by the tragic loss of an esteemed colleague,” Vardhan tweeted.
While the committee will soon submit its reports soon, HealthWire spoke to Dr R P Beniwal – Senior Psychiatrist and Associate professor, Department of Psychiatry, Centre of excellence in Mental health, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of medical sciences & Dr RML Hospital – who said that the coronavirus has caused anxiety and fear among patients and some are even suffering from depression.
“In the past 2-3 months, we have seen healthy people developing symptoms of anxiety and the situation is worse for those who already had been facing some problems. So there is no doubt the COVID-19 has affected mental health. There are several reports where people have committed suicide out of coronavirus fear,” Dr Beniwal said.
Dr Beniwal suggested that people need not fear as the killing instinct of the virus is just around 3 per cent or even less. “And that too in those patients who already have medical comorbidities like hypertension, diabetes, kidney problem, cancer patients, etc,” he added.
However, he underlined the fact that the stigma related to this disease is affecting a lot of people. “There is a stigma that people will not accept coronavirus positive patient, neighbours will not cooperate, how will they arrange things for them as their family will also have fear of getting infected.”