UP medics complain of lack of masks, gloves
In a disturbing development, the association of resident doctors at King George's Medical University (KGMU) has written a letter to the vice-chancellor, stating that the doctors are 'scared' and 'concerned' because they did not have protective equipment such as masks and gloves while treating patients of coronavirus.
The Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) said its members have not been provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) kits required to protect them from the infection.
"It has been brought to our notice from senior and junior resident (SR/JR) doctors of various departments that residents attending to suspected and confirmed Covid-19 patients are working without PPE gear. This exposes us to community spread of the disease," RDA president Rahul Bharat said in his letter to vice-chancellor Prof M.L.B. Bhatt.
"We are scared of such working conditions causing emotional and psychological stress. We request you to provide PPE gear for proper functioning without any threat of infection," the letter added.
Bharat claimed that PPE kits were not available in isolation ward as well, while masks were not being given to doctors working in flu and fever OPDs.
"Ideally, all nursing/paramedical staff working in these wards and OPDs should also be given N-95 or triple-layered masks," he said.
He also claimed that residents of pulmonary, anesthesia and cardiology OPDs were provided sanitizers on Monday only after the RDA's letter reached the VC.
KGMU authorities, however, said that PPE kits had been provided to all those deployed in the isolation ward. They said the ones who were attending to patients in the flu and fever clinic had been asked to maintain required distance from patients.
Over 150 resident doctors, mostly students of postgraduate and super-specialty courses form the backbone of the university's healthcare system. KGMU, at present, is the hub of coronavirus testing and treatment in the state.
However, KGMU authorities refuted RDA's claim. Chief Medical Superintendent S.N. Sankhwar said that PPE kits are being provided as per guidelines of Indian Council of Medical Research to those who come in direct contact of suspected and confirmed cases in the isolation ward.
"As of now, 100 PPE kits are being used in the isolation ward where corona patients are admitted and in microbiology lab where tests are done. We maintain a permanent back-up of 600 PPE kits. We also have the required number of masks," he said.
Sankhwar further said, "At the flu and fever clinic, all patients undergo infra-red thermal scanning done by a paramedic from a safe distance of 5 feet. Those with fever and dry cough-the signs of Corona virus-are sent to the isolation ward immediately, hence, there is no direct contact with the patient. Patients with flu, including those suspected to have swine flu, are attended to by doctors wearing masks and gloves.
Meanwhile, a nurse, Shashi Singh, from the Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences (RMLIMS)posted a video on the social media claiming that they were not being provided masks and gloves while treating patients.
RMLIMS spokesperson Srikesh Singh said that the video is misleading and Shashi Singh is not a permanent employee of the hospital. He said that 3,000 personal protection kits had been provide to the staff. IANS