Hyderabad: Thirteen post-graduate doctors, one gynaecology professor and three healthcare workers at Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday.
Seven post-graduates of Osmania Medical College, two of Gandhi Medical College, four of NIMS have also tested positive, taking the total number of doctors affected to 25 in government hospitals. Earlier, 12 PG doctors of OMC were infected with the virus which they contracted from a canteen worker.
There has been a huge rush of patients for non-Covid care after the easing of the lockdown but there is no proper screening of these patients or sanitization in government hospitals. Patients scheduled for surgeries are not being tested for Covid-19 and this exposes the doctors and nurses tending to them. This is what happened in NIMS where a patient in intensive care developed bilateral pneumonia, exposing the doctors.
A senior doctor explained, “Doctors of cardiology and general medicine have been affected. This is because there is no proper screening of patients or testing of healthcare workers. After the PGs tested positive, only those having symptoms are being tested or those who came in contact, which is very unfair. This calls for mass screening of all healthcare workers as they are exposed and are asymptomatic carriers.”
In Osmania General Hospital, all wards and the out-patient department are full as the other government hospital, Gandhi Hospital, is taking only Covid-19 patients. This makes it difficult to sanitize the wards and causes infection to spread, say doctors.
Another problem is that people, including healthcare workers, are not disclosing if they have symptoms, either due to economic considerations or because they are under pressure to work and earn. This too increases the risk of spreading contagion.
The Telangana Junior Doctors Association has approached health minister Etela Rajender and demanded mass screening, personal protection equipment, N 95 masks and sanitization facilities in government hospitals.
Said a senior doctor: “Our senior doctors are all above 60 years of age and they are in the high risk zone. We need people and government to understand that they must opt only for emergency healthcare services for now. To rush to hospitals for small and minor ailments will lead to further spread of infection. This message has gone away from people’s minds as they now think that lockdown is over and everything is back to normal, which is not the case.”...