Chandigarh’s GMCH doctors flag safety issues, seek testing for all
In a letter written to the hospital authorities, resident doctors of anaesthesia highlighted how doctors were refused testing in the initial days, even after one operation theatre attendant was tested positiveUpdated: Apr 29, 2020 10:04 IST
After three junior doctors tested positive for coronavirus disease (Covid-19), resident doctors from the department of anaesthesia at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, wrote a letter to the hospital authorities highlighting the “apathy of the department towards the staff posted in various operation theatres (OTs) and intensive care units (ICUs)”.
“On April 24, an OT attendant (name hidden) was tested positive and some of the residents posted on duty were being refused testing for SARS-CoV-2 (Covid) on baseless criteria like “not shaking of hands” and “not sharing of meals” completely discounting all logic and disregarding the spread via fomites and aerosols,” said the letter, adding that “the authorities were refusing to test resident doctors because they “do not have a high grade fever”.
In the next three days, three doctors of the same department were tested positive. The doctors sought an “explanation” as to why so many resident doctors of the department were posted despite less patient footfall and clear guidelines exhorting departments to decrease the number of doctors being exposed daily.
“Time and again our pleas of reducing the number of residents (of anesthesia department) in various duty areas have fallen on deaf ears. Vague and unscientific justifications have been given for the excess number of residents in the duty spots. No considerations were given even to pregnant and lactating mothers in the department and they were all placed at the same risk,” the letter said, asking why despite Chandigarh being a red zone, patients coming for emergency surgical interventions were not being tested for Covid.
Stating that residents in emergency OT had no access to sanitisers, the doctors added that they were fighting the war against the global pandemic, but “placing us under unnecessary risk is never justified”.
They urged the head of department to make a roster such that least number of residents are called for duty, besides arranging the necessary equipment. After every seven days continuous duty, residents should be given 14 days off, the doctors urged.
Dr Pradeep Atter, a resident at the department, said they met the head of the department, Dr Sukanya Mitra, regarding the letter and said that ‘their issues had been addressed’ and ‘they are satisfied as she has ensured testing of all residents of the department.”
Dr Mitra, however, refused to comment saying she is not authorised to talk to the media.