LNJP Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 facility, ill-equipped to handle case load

In the latest development reported from the hospital, two senior nursing officers have contracted COVID-19. This has put at least another 20 senior nursing staff in jeopardy

LNJP Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 facility, ill-equipped to handle case load
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Ashlin Mathew

Though the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, which is functioning as a dedicated COVID-19 Hospital, has set aside 2,000 beds for those patients, they are not completely prepared yet to handle the pandemic. In the latest development reported from the hospital, two senior nursing officers have contracted COVID-19. This has put at least another 20 senior nursing staff in jeopardy as all of them had sat together just two days ago to prepare the duty roster.

Of these 2,000, 774 beds are occupied. Currently, seven patients are in the Intensive Care Unit, 89 persons in the Emergency Block, 452 in the Surgery Block, 17 in the Paediatric Block, 43 in the Ortho Block, 139 in the Medicine Block, 27 in the New Nursing Home and five in the Gynaecology Block.

Other than the Surgery Block, no other wards are equipped to handle quarantined patients. Only the surgery block has separate doors and guards on different levels. But, even here, the nursing station is in the centre of the ward. This makes it difficult for nurses as only the junior staff dons the PPE suits to attend the patients, while the senior supervisory nursing staff are not on patient duty.

A resident duty doctor was assaulted on Tuesday by a patient in a Covid-19 ward in the Surgical Block. Several patients gathered around the doctors and threatened them. “The doctor in charge of the floor was unavailable and the Chief Medical Officer on duty did not respond to crisis calls. The duty security officer refused to accompany the resident doctor. Marshalls and guards do not have PPE suits, so they refused to enter the ward. They entered only after they were provided PPE suits,”stated Parv Mittal, the president of Resident Doctors Association.

“In the medicine block, most patients are seen roaming about as there is no guard at the entrance and the staircase to the next floor is through the ward. There are several Indonesian patients across wards, who are finding it difficult to understand instructions as many do not understand English or Hindi,” said a nurse, who did not want to be identified.


According to guidelines, areas where you don the personal protective equipment and doff the suit are supposed to be separated and it shouldn’t go through wards. “But here in most cases that can’t be followed because of how the hospital has been constructed. We cannot blame them, but they should have looked into it while dedicating this as a COVID-19 hospital,” pointed out another nurse.

This lack of quarantine facilities has led to two senior nurses testing positive. The assistant nursing superintendent (ANS) tested positive a few days ago and the deputy nursing superintendent (DNS), who is in charge of the roster, tested positive on Monday. “All the senior staff members were in regular contact with the DNS and they had all met on Sunday too. Now, all the senior staff will have to be tested. After that all the junior nurses who were in contact with the senior staff will have to be tested. All of this rises from the problem that we don’t have adequate number of PPE suits. It is not there for everyone. We are all worried and everyone is scared what will happen,” said a nurse who was on duty.

The medical staff at LNJP Hospital have been asked to follow the 14-day duty and 14-day quarantine shifts. “All of us have not got accommodation yet, so once we begin our shifts, we are not sure when we can see our families either.

Though a number of guidelines have been issued by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), WHO, ICMR and the state government, the administration is not yet clear on what should be followed. “This is a matter which concerns us all. Not only is the Covid-19 duty physically exhausting, it is also mentally taxing,” said another nurse working at LNJP Hospital.

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Published: 15 Apr 2020, 8:14 AM