500 medicos at two Patna hospitals test +ve, association write to govt
Amid the unprecedented surge of Covid-19 cases during the second wave of the pandemic, more than 500 doctors and medical staff have contracted the virus in two major government hospitals in Patna alone, prompting Bihar Health Service Association (BHSA) to write to the state government seeking a dedicated Covid care centre for health care workers.
In a letter to principal secretary (health) Pratay Amrit on Wednesday, BHSA said it had received information from members that “no government official is taking any cognisance of doctors having contracted the virus on duty or of medical professionals whose families had also got affected”.
Altogether, 384 employees of AIIMS Patna, including doctors and nurses, have been infected during the second wave so far, its medical superintendent C M Singh told PTI.
Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) superintendent Dr Indu Sekhar Thakur said more than 125 of its employees had tested positive so far. He said the list includes 70 doctors and over 55 nurses and other health workers.
BHSA has demanded that the state government immediately constitute a cell to extend all support to medical and health workers affected by Covid, set up dedicated Covid care facilities by converting hotels as hospitals exclusively for treatment and isolation of families of medical professionals and also provide a group insurance of ₹1 crore to all medical professionals.
“This a pitiable state of affairs. We are front line workers helping patients to fight Covid. But when we and our families are contracting the virus and falling ill, there is nobody to look after us. A large number of doctors in the state have contracted the infection and subsequently transmitted it to their families.But they are fending for themselves,” said Dr Dipak Kumar Singh, senior vice-president of BHSA and its spokesperson. He said government should use funds to provide group insurance instead of giving one month extra salary to medical professionals as announced.
“I and my teenaged son are Covid positive. My wife is also not well.There is nobody to even buy medicines or other home essentials for us as we are all in home isolation. My gardener is now my only help as my driver is also positive. Nobody from the hospital or civil surgeon’s office has even bothered to call us to extend help,” said a senior doctor and member of BHSA, posted at a government hospital in Patna. He did not want his name to be disclosed.
Another government hospital doctor in Patna , preferring anonymity, narrated how he had been running fever for the last 10 days, besides suffering from throat irritation, anxiety and loss of taste due to the infection. “Nobody is caring for us. I am isolated in my room and now only concerned about my family,” he said.
Some of the doctors shared how they had to get their RT-PCR tests done at private labs after developing symptoms as the queue in getting tests at government facilities was long. “RT-PCR test results are coming after four to five days and till that time, doctors are getting more exposed. That is a risky affair and raising complications,” said another doctor, demanding that testing for medical professionals be scaled up.
Principal secretary (health) Prataya Amrit, reacting to the letter from BHSA, said all government hospitals had been instructed to keep dedicated beds for doctors and health care staff affected by Covid.
On the demand for group insurance for medical professionals, he said the Bihar was the only state that had made provision to give additional one month’s salary to all medical professionals. “Besides, there is provision that family of those doctors dying due to Covid on duty would be entitled for full salary till retirement, apart from other benefits,” he said.
Amrit said 95% of the doctors and medical care staff had received first dose of Covid vaccine while 74 doctors/ medical professionals had got the second dose.