Used PPE kits dumped in the open at Patna hospital ring alarm bells
Safe disposal of medical waste related to Covid-19, sterilisation of waste and incineration are among the 21-point guidelines that the Bihar health department has recommended to tertiary healthcare institutions and medical colleges treating Covid-19 patients.Updated: Aug 06, 2020 19:28 IST
Personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, used by healthcare workers attending to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, can be seen littered on the campus of the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH), ringing alarm bells about the spread of the contagion and underlining the blatant violation of the latest state government’s guidelines.
The thunderstorm that struck Patna on Wednesday evening did not help the cause either, as the litter flew all over the place on the hospital campus.
HT has sourced pictures of disposable PPE kits lying strewn in the open such as outside the autopsy room of the forensic medicine and toxicology department, PMCH, on Wednesday morning, barely two days after the Bihar health department’s principal secretary, Pratyaya Amrit, gave a pep-talk to the state medical college and hospital administrative authorities on Monday (August 3).
Safe disposal of medical waste related to Covid-19, sterilisation of waste and incineration are among the 21-point guidelines that the state health department has recommended to tertiary healthcare institutions and medical colleges treating Covid-19 patients.
The guidelines suggest a separate set-up for the disposal of PPE kits for private ambulance drivers ferrying Covid-19 patients to the hospital.
It has been specifically instructed to keep separate rooms for wearing PPE kits for the hospital’s nurses, ward boys, and hospital attendants.
However, the photographs conveyed contrary to what Amrit has prescribed.
“I have personally seen drivers of private mortuary vans, who ferry bodies for autopsy, discard their PPE kits at the corner of the autopsy room. We have discussed the issue with the probationary IAS (Indian Administrative Service) and IPS (Indian Police Service) officers deputed for the control room at PMCH and have requested them that armed police personnel is deployed there. I have also urged the medical superintendent to persuade the civic authorities to lift the garbage from there twice a day,” said Dr. Vidyapati Chaudhary, principal, PMCH.
At present, the PMCH incinerator, where PPE kits are to be disposed of, is dysfunctional.
“We have asked the private agency, which operates the incinerator, to repair it soon. Else, we will dock its charges,” Dr. Chaudhary added.
Dr. Bimal Karak, superintendent, PMCH, was not available for comments.
On August 2, the state government had sanctioned Rs 252.54 crore as an incentive — equivalent to a month’s basic salary for doctors and employees of the healthcare department, who are at the frontline battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This (incentive) will boost the morale of the doctors, healthcare, and frontline workers and its good effects will be visible,” said a communique of the state information and public relations department (IPR), quoting Anupam Kumar, secretary, IPR.
The PMCH, which is Bihar’s oldest medical college, has earmarked 100 isolation beds for Covid-19 patients.
Besides, the hospital has another 1,900 beds for non-Covid-19 patients.