The controversy continues surrounding a high school student in Daegu, who died of acute secure pneumonia after showing a negative response to the new coronavirus test.
The public health authorities said the boy’s death was not due to COVID-19, citing the negative result in the previous seven tests and attributing the positive result at the eighth and final checks was due to the possible contamination of the laboratory at Yeungnam University Medical Center’s (YUMC) where the teenager was hospitalized.
The hospital strongly protested to the presumption, flatly denying such a possibility.
Third-party clinicians also expressed skepticism about the health officials’ conclusion. “What other kinds of disease can destroy a healthy 17-year-old boy’s lungs and claim his life in eight days, then,” a practicing physician posted on Facebook, Thursday. “If there is such a disease, it could be more dangerous than COVID-19.”
Another doctor said that the medical team at the hospital seemed to be certain of COVID-19 infection when they diagnosed the boy over and over. Usually, physicians give up when a patient responds negatively to the test, but the hospital doctors did not.
The patient died at 11:16 a.m. Wednesday while treating his pneumonia symptoms. The medical center suspected of COVID-19, but the boy continued to show negative results in all those tests – until his urine test produced a positive sign.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (CDSCH) raised a possibility of contamination in YUMC’s laboratory.
However, the hospital refuted the headquarters’ views, saying all previous tests have not produced conflicting results, a proof that its laboratory was not contaminated.
Since the outbreak of the first patient on Jan. 20, the public health authorities here have said healthy young people without underlying diseases would not die of COVID-19 without a problem. In the same vein, the officials called for youngsters to concede face masks to older generations.
In an interview, however, Korean Medical Association President Choi Dae-zip said that there is no scientific ground for claiming that a healthy person is free from COVID-19 death. “Patients can respond differently to COVID-19 infection depending on their immune ability,” Choi said.