Doctors, nurses and staff members at government hospitals and dispensaries have been putting in extra hours to take care of patients flooding into fever clinics.
The city had till Saturday recorded more than 4,000 cases of dengue and chikungunya, with the government cancelling the leaves of all hospital staff to manage the “crisis”.
The doctors say that they are overworked.
Five days after he got fever and joint pain, Dr Vikram Arora was called back to work as his department could not afford to give him any more leaves. “When I started running a temperature and got joint pains, I was sure that I had chikungunya. I called up the hospital and was told that they could only give me a four-day leave,” he said.
Arora, who works in the orthopedic department, added that he was told that many doctors had been diverted to the fever clinics to tackle the huge crowd of people coming in with fever.
“Besides that, we also manage dengue or other fever patients who are admitted in the orthopedic ward,” he said.
Though his fever has subsided, Arora said that his joints still bothered him. “Pulling 12-hour shifts is difficult. I have to take a paracetamol every three-four hours and use gels to curb the pain,” said Dr Arora.
Arora’s colleague Dr Sumit Paria said he joined back work immediately after his fever subsided during the first week of September. He still has joint pains, but has been doing 18-hour shifts.
“My mother is also suffering from chikungunya and my daughter has viral fever. But I cannot take a leave because there is a severe shortage of doctors. All of us here know at least one person who has chikungunya. This is because we are the first point-of-contact for the patients and hence are at a high-risk,” said Paria.
A doctor from Lok Nayak hospital said all leaves, apart from medical ones, had been cancelled for doctors.
“Doctors have been working for close to 10 days at a stretch without a leave,” he said.
Lok Nayak has been receiving around 600 fever patients daily in its fever clinics alone.
A nursing sister at Hindu Rao hospital said she was called back to joined work two days after she availed her earned leaves.
“I had no option but to take a train back,” she said.
Doctors said that their volume of work too had increased suddenly.
“We have been receiving four times the number of patients we usually otherwise do. The government has asked us to operate our fever clinics on Sundays also. So, I had to cancel leaves of many of my doctors,” said Dr Ashok Dua, chief casualty medical officer at Dr Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan.