400-bed Kolkata private hospital shuts down ops after doctors, staff contract Covid-19

Updated on May 05, 2020 08:55 AM IST

A senior doctor at Peerless Hospital in south Kolkata, who did not want to be named, said more than 10 people have been affected and at least three among them are doctors.

Peerless hospitals authority said that more than 10 people have been affected by Covid-19.(Facebook/Peerless hospital)
Peerless hospitals authority said that more than 10 people have been affected by Covid-19.(Facebook/Peerless hospital)
Hindustan Times, Kolkata | ByTanmay Chatterjee | Edited by: Meenakshi Ray

A 400-bed multi-speciality hospital in West Bengal’s Kolkata decided to shut down its operations, barring a few, on Monday evening, saying a number of doctors, nurses, staff members and attendants have contracted the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The Peerless Hospital is among the big private institutions where Covid-19 patients were being treated.

A senior doctor at Peerless Hospital in south Kolkata, who did not want to be named, said more than 10 people have been affected and at least three among them are doctors.

Click here for the complete coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

“This has created a great deal of panic amongst patients, health professionals as well as the surrounding community which has been reflected by mass absenteeism, dissatisfaction and uncertainty in them. Majority staffers are admitted here and the rest are in quarantine,” Dr Sujit Kar Purakayastha, managing director of Peerless Hospital, said in a statement on Monday.

“Covid-19 Task Force of the hospital, as well as the Peerless administration, have decided to close down the hospital services from May 5 with the intention of wide sanitisation and other measures till further decision,” Dr Purakayastha said.

The statement, however, said that the hospital would continue to run its maternity, radiology, dialysis, cancer chemotherapy and laboratory departments.

Click here for the latest updates from the coronavirus outbreak

Peerless is the second private hospital to shut down operation after doctors and staff members contracted Covid-19. The first was Chernock Hospital in New Town in the eastern fringes of Kolkata. It stopped operations last month.

“The number doctors, nurses and other hospital staff infected till April 30 is more than 100,” Dr Koushik Chaki, secretary of the West Bengal Doctors Forum that raised the issue before the government on April 28, said.

Two doctors, including a senior state health department official, have also died of Covid-19 so far.

Incidentally, on May 1, when eight people died, marking the highest toll in a day in West Bengal since the outbreak, the state government asked private hospitals to admit all patients without asking for certificates that said they were nor infected or, face penal action.

The order has triggered fear that the coronavirus disease may spread among staff and patients in private hospitals that are unaffected till now.

“There are reports that patients in need of regular critical care related to blood transfusion, dialysis, chemotherapy, obstetric care, institutional deliveries, immunization etc are facing hardship due to private hospitals/ healthcare facilities either remaining non-functional or turning away patients out of fear of contracting Covid-19. Some hospitals are insisting on Covid-free certificates before allowing the patients in,” the government’s 30-page order said.

The order said healthcare services have to be normalised in a “planned manner,” giving “highest priority” to the safety of healthcare staff, following Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines.

“Failure to adhere to the above shall be viewed adversely and shall make the health facilities liable for penal action under the West Bengal Clinical Establishments Act,” wrote the government.

There are 67 Covid-19 hospitals and 16 test centres in West Bengal. A section of these is private institutions.

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