Hyderabad: One hundred and six doctors have died in India due to Covid-19 till April 15, when data was last compiled. The case fatality rate is 6.1 per cent due to the high viral load because of repeated exposure while treating patients. Twenty-five nurses and other healthcare providers have succumbed to the disease.
Two nurses and two doctors died in road accidents due to mental and physical fatigue of infection. Five nurses and one doctor committee suicide due to stress and the stigma of contracting Covid 19.
Some of them died after taking care of their family members. There are two instances where doctors and their spouses died after getting infected and they were below 60 years of age.
The gaps in following precautions and misunderstanding the seriousness of the illness have also caused to lapses, leading to death.
During the initial stages of pandemic, doctors were exposed to the virus while not having access to personal protection equipment, gloves, face shields and other secondary protective gears.
These deaths also include those have been sudden and without any underlying illness. The deaths in those below 40 years of age are 21 per cent, below 50 years of age 29.6 per cent and below 60 years of age 55.5 per cent.
Indian Medical Association data till April 29 showed that 927 doctors were infected with Covid-19, of whom 57 died. This data does not include small private hospitals and nursing homes, general physicians and those in the periphery of cities. The extensive work of compiling data with the help of colleagues and medical associations was carried out by Dr Rajeev Jayadevan.
The data showed that young doctors too succumbed to Covid-19. Why they suffered from severe Covid-19 is not clear.
Dr K.K. Aggarwal, past president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), said “The high viral load in doctors could lead to clotting of blood which is not understood. After noting the cases of rapid deterioration, oxygen levels are being checked. This is helping identify those who need to be isolated in case the oxygen levels are low.”
The highest risk factor has been noted in operation theatres and it requires extensive management in terms of limited healthcare professionals.
Dr Narsinga Reddy, national vice-president of IMA, explained, “The mild cases of non-Covid have to be managed online for some more time. The rotational duty system for doctors and healthcare workers is giving them time to rest. This has helped in controlling the numbers. Despite that the infection rate in doctors is a cause of concern.”
It has been noted that aerosols in hospital the set-up apart from a suspected and positive Covid-19 patient could also be transmitted from an asymptomatic doctor who is not aware of the condition.