VIJAYAWADA: Lack of clinical and surgical exposure to non-Covid-19 cases, especially to some passing out batches of medical students pursuing UG, PG and superspeciality courses, is a cause of concern as there is a question mark over their expertise in handling such cases independently.
Nearly 7,210 students from Andhra Pradesh, who complete their MBBS, PG and superspeciality courses and come out to practice independently or to pursue higher studies, every year. However, with the outbreak of Covid-19 in March, 2020 and the caseload of infected patients peaked, most of these students, drafted for Covid-19 duty, missed out on attending to patients suffering from ailments related to heart, liver and other chronic diseases and also basic surgeries like circumcision, hydrocele, hernia, appendicitis and abscess.
Several elective surgeries were also deferred while some regular surgeries pertaining to orthopaedics, obstetrics, trauma and other emergencies were carried out.
Vice-Chancellor of Dr NTR University of Health Sciences, Dr P. Syama Prasad said “We have conducted offline and online classes for these students to help them acquire knowledge. We will be conducting a six-month training session so that they can get clinical exposure on completion of NEET PG so that they can also handle non-Covid ailments. Moreover, we will be organising regular workshops and initiate other steps so that they improve their skills.”
Indian Medical Association Medical Students Network AP chairman Dr K.S. Karuna Murthy said “It is true some of these students lack the skill to handle a patient independently to carry out a normal delivery or even to administer saline to a trauma patient after a snake bite. Some students search Google to answer when who ask a question in the class and fail to respond to subsequent questions because of a lack of knowledge. When we conducted a workshop on handling biomedical waste, only three of 40 students attended. On an average a doctor spread over 40 years of practice, treats four lakh patients. If the individual lacks skill, it causes more harm than good.”
IMA AP president Dr N. Subramanyam said “Though these students have failed to get adequate clinical and surgical exposure due to prevalence of Covid-19, they cleared their final theory and practical exams which was not an easy task. It indicates that they are having good knowledge but it is better for them to update their medical skills further to get expertise and treat patients in a better way.”
A student, who completed PG successfully, said “Students, who study in reputed medical institutions, get adequate exposure despite Covid-19 situation. However, it is better for students who failed to get such exposure to join good medical institutions for some time so that they can acquire all requisite skills before starting practising.”