Mess worker at AIIMS dies with Covid-19, docs say safety flouted
A worker from one of the hostel canteens at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) died of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Thursday night, making him the first known death in a hospital campus in Delhi.Updated: May 23, 2020 05:57 IST
A worker from one of the hostel canteens at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) died of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Thursday night, making him the first known death in a hospital campus in Delhi.
“He had some cardiac issues and he was positive for Covid-19. He did not work in any patient area,” Subhashish Panda, deputy director of administration at AIIMS, said. He worked at the hostel mess of the Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, which is frequented by doctors, nurses and other health care workers.
The resident doctors’ association (RDA) in a letter to the director of the hospital demanded the resignation of the hostel superintendent and the senior warden for alleged “failure” to put in place protective measures.
“We had demanded regular screening wit thermal scanner and availability of masks, sanitisers, etc., in the mess so that they work safely without endangering themselves and the hospital staff, over a month ago. However, nothing was really done. Sanitisers would sometimes be available but there was no screening at all, anybody could just walk in,” said Dr Srinivas Rajkumar T, general secretary of the hospital RDA.
A letter to the director written on Friday states, “We demand testing of all mess workers and residents by diligent contact tracing and ensure such incidences don’t repeat. We demand appointment of a more receptive and resident friendly hostel superintendent and senior warden.” The doctors have also requested the administration to pay compensation to the family of the mess worker.
“It is very unfortunate that one of the staff members has died. However, the doctors should not raise such allegations, several measures are being taken to prevent infection in the hospital,” said a senior official from the hospital administration.
So far, at least 130 hospital staff have tested positive for Covid-19 at AIIMS. Across Delhi, at least 560 health care workers have tested positive for the infection.
“So far, there is no instance of any of the health care workers or hospital staff acquiring the infection from the hospital. We have nodal officers in the hospital who educate the staff on practising safety measures not only in the hospital but also outside,” Panda said.
Meanwhile, doctors across hospitals in Delhi protested with a black ribbons on Friday demanding proper quarantine and testing of health care workers after Covid-19 duties to ensure they do not carry back the infection to their homes. “We will continue our black ribbon protest tomorrow as well and hold a candle-light vigil. We want the ministry to amend its recent quarantine guidelines,” said Dr Shivaji Barman, president of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association.
Healthcare workers used to work for 14 days and then go for quarantine for the next 14 days to ensure they did not have the infection when they went home or to work. The union ministry guidelines on May 15 said that the 14-day quarantine was not necessary unless there was a breach of the personal protective equipment.