UP Govt indifferent towards hospital staff, leaving Corona warriors to wage a lonely battle

Doctors had complained that they got inferior quality PPE kits, for one; they believe that the surge in corona cases in Meerut and Noida among hospital staff was because of this kit

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)

NH Correspondent/Lucknow

Sujata Prakash, a nursing officer in King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow was posted in the Corona Ward of the hospital from July 1 to 14. After a mandatory test, she tested positive on July 15. The ward where she worked diligently for almost a fortnight refused her admission. She had to wait for over 24 hours outside the surgical ward, sitting on patients’ chairs, along with three other paramedics who had also tested positive, before she was allotted a bed.

If this has happened to a nurse who had worked in a hospital’s COVID-19, ward what is happening with common man in these state-run hospitals in Uttar Pradesh is anybody’s guess.

“The government can shower flower petals on the hospitals in the name of corona warriors but can’t the administration provide a bed when the same warrior needs one,” asks Vivek Kumar, husband of Sunita. Kumar had taken a leave from his government job so that his wife can work in the COVID-19 ward.

“She got the infection while serving COVID-19 patients and when she needed help for herself she was denied the basic courtesy to have a bed,” Kumar told this reporter.

This is not an isolated case. Doctors and paramedics in the state are bearing the brunt of government apathy. The doctors had complained that they got inferior quality PPE kits. Uttar Pradesh Director General of Medical Education (DGME) in early April had written a letter to medical colleges warning them against the use of sub-standard PPE.

“The gowns were not as per the set standards,” Dr. K.K. Gupta, UP DGME said in that letter.

Doctors believe that the surge in corona cases in Meerut and Noida among hospital staff was because of this kit. The Uttar Pradesh government has refused to divulge the exact figures, but the reports coming from different hospitals of medical colleges or state run hospitals paint a dismal picture.

The president of Uttar Pradesh Provincial Health and Medical Services (PHMS) Dr Sachin Vaish compiled a report of medical staff in government hospitals who have tested positive. As per his compilation, more than 80 hospital staff have tested corona positive. Eight of them have died of COVID-19, of whom three were doctors.

The KGMU’s own compilation says over 44 staff have tested positive while this number is over 50 in Prayagraj. “We are concerned and looking at how to control the spread of corona infection among the hospital staff,” Chief Medical Superintendent of KGMU Prof S N Shankhwar said.

Even the Indian Medical Association has issued a red alert across India saying that 99 doctors have succumbed to the disease, while 1,302 others have been infected in the country. “Operation theatres, labour rooms, laboratories and casualties require special care. ICUs and Critical Care Units deserve close scrutiny for adherence to best practices and protocols, the IMA said which represent the medical professionals in the country,” IMA president Dr Rajan Sharma said.

The IMA says 99 doctors died across India of COVID-19. Of them, 73 doctors were above 50 years of age – which is 75 percent of the total deaths among doctors. While 19 doctors were in the age group of 35-50 years, accounting for 19 per cent of the deaths, seven doctors were in the age group of below 35 years, accounting for 6 percent of the doctor deaths.

In all, 1,401 doctors were exposed to the virus. Among the 1,302 doctors infected, 586 are practicing doctors, 566 resident doctors, and 150 house surgeons.

"If COVID-19 mortality has to be lessened, it has to start with doctors and hospitals. This requires intense review and updating of all administrative set ups in the hospitals including the infection control protocols," Dr Sharma said.

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