Ludhiana’s solitary civil hospital has no ENT specialist for black fungus cases
Currently, the patients are at the mercy of internal medicine and eye specialists, who are already burdened by Covid-19 cases
Even as nearly 72% of mucormycosis or black fungus patients in Punjab have been diagnosed with the fungal infection only in the sinus/nose area, the solitary civil hospital in Ludhiana does not have a single ENT specialist.
Currently, the patients are at the mercy of internal medicine and eye specialists, who are already burdened by Covid-19 cases.
The hospital did have two ENT specialists – Dr Manisha Khanna and Dr Anmol Rattan. But the former was recently transferred after being promoted as senior medical officer (SMO) and the latter is on a three-year sabbatical to pursue fellowship in Kolkata.
Two other ENT doctors – Dr Ramesh Bhagat, is operating as the district epidemiologist, and Dr Pardeep Kumar, is deputed as Jagraon SMO.
Nodal officer of the Covid unit at the civil hospital, Dr Hitinder Kaur confirmed they had no ENT doctor at present. “We have informed the higher authorities in the health department about the staff requirement in the wake of rising black fungus cases,” said Dr Kaur.
So far, the district has logged six deaths due to mucormycosis, of which five are from other districts. A total of 64 patients are undergoing treatment in different city hospitals. These include 26 from Ludhiana and 38 from other districts.
Sources said in the absence of the specialist, patients were being referred to other hospitals.
Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Field Gunj, complained that he brought his father, who had symptoms of black fungus, to the civil hospital as he had limited means. But, in the absence of an ENT doctor, he fears his father’s treatment will be lacking.
Besides the fear of consequences of the fungal infection, the cost of treatment at private hospitals is another cause of worry for many.
Tilak Raj, 68, a resident of Old City, said he had already spent extensively on his Covid treatment, and wished to get treated at the civil hospital after developing symptoms of black fungus. “But, there is no nasal specialist. So, my son took me to DMCH, which is resulting in more financial burden,” he added.