11 health workers test Covid-19 positive at Kolkata Medical College
The MBBS interns at the hospital issued a media statement on Monday and, on Tuesday it was the turn of the junior doctors to bring the same charges against the authorities. Medical College, Kolkata, is one of the premiere state-run hospitals in the city.Updated: Apr 22, 2020 23:44 IST
Interns and the house staff at Medical College, Kolkata, have lashed out at the authorities alleging gross negligence, citing that 11 healthcare workers at the hospital have tested positive for Covid-19 as against only three Covid-19 patients who were admitted at the hospital.
The MBBS interns at the hospital issued a media statement on Monday and, on Tuesday it was the turn of the junior doctors to bring the same charges against the authorities. Medical College, Kolkata, is one of the premiere state-run hospitals in the city.
The authorities, on the other hand, have decided to keep the interns off work for the time being, considering that their lack of experience could expose them to greater risk than experienced healthcare professionals.
“A ratio of 3 patients to 11 healthcare workers affected points to enormous callousness on the part of the authorities to set up any form of protection and testing facilities for those of us at the highest risk,” reads the press statement issued by the residents, which include the house staff and the post-graduate trainees, on Tuesday night.
The house staff, also called junior doctors, alleged that despite the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s latest guideline to provide N-95 masks to all healthcare workers, it was denied at the hospital, in spite of repeated demands.
“Outpatient departments continue without any personal protective equipment (PPE). Emergency doctors are provided with one PPE per shift. This is unacceptable,” the statement read.
Responding to the allegations, hospital superintendent Indranil Biswas said that there was lack of awareness and alertness on the part of healthcare workers at the beginning but the issues had been resolved.
“The infection spread from the gynaecology ward and not the isolation ward. All patients were asymptomatic and they showed symptoms only during their stay in the hospital, following which their swab samples were tested. Possibly, there was lack of alertness while treating patients in non-isolation wards who showed no symptoms and were not suspected to be Covid-19 patients. I don’t blame interns because they are barely one month and a half into their internship,” Biswas said.
Among healthcare workers, three junior doctors, four nursing staff tested positive for Covid-19.
He added that all precautionary measures have been taken after identifying the risk from asymptomatic patients. “Right now, we are treating all patients as suspected Covid-19 positive unless proved otherwise. So, precaution is being taken while dealing with any patient in any ward. Also, those coming from Covid-19 hotspot areas are being straightaway taken to the isolation wards and tests are being conducted,” Biswas said.
The authorities have for the time being decided not to use the interns for any work related to the hospital. Mass testing of healthcare workers is also being carried out.
The male medicine ward and the gynaecology ward at the hospital are presently shut. All staff at the outdoor section have been asked to wear N-95 masks. A patient at the gyanaecology ward tested positive soon after giving birth to a child. The report of another patient, who took admission with heart ailment, came positive after her death.
As many as 44 nursing staff and junior doctors have been sent to quarantine centres for coming in contact with Covid-19 patients.