New Delhi: A doctors’ body called the United Resident and Doctor’s Association India has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking for his “urgent intervention” on issues faced by health workers treating coronavirus patients.
The letter claims that over 83 resident doctors at Patna’s Nalanda Medical College, who had been exposed to a patient who later tested positive for the coronavirus, are “suspected of being positive” themselves. The letter is signed by Dr Manu Gautam, president of the URDA.
“There was a patient who was diagnosed positive for coronavirus a week or so after his treatment in Nalanda Medical College in Patna. During that time, many residents came in contact with him since they shared a common mess,” Dr Gautam told ThePrint.
“Later, most of them started showing symptoms… After which all the 83 doctors went to the administration requesting whether they could quarantine themselves,” he said, adding that they were denied permission.
Gautam alleged that the doctors have neither been tested so far, nor been quarantined. The letter requests the PM to “direct authorities not to ignore such grievous situations”.
Calls to the superintendent and the hospital manager at the Nalanda Medical College went unanswered. ThePrint has sent them text messages, and will update with their comments when they respond.
Inadequate protective equipment
According to the letter, doctors and nurses aren’t being provided with adequate masks, gloves, sanitisers and other personal protective equipment. It claims that “asking a health care professional to work without these essentials is like asking a soldier to go on border for a fight without a gun”.
Gautam said the doctors had written a letter to the administration asking for hazmat suits, masks and gloves, but the request was rejected.
The letter requests PM Modi to “pass strict orders to all government hospitals, private hospitals and medical colleges to provide essential safety equipment to all those who are working in hospitals without fail, so that our soldiers in white can fight this threat without any doubt or fear”.
Landlords evicting healthcare professionals
The URDA letter also requests authorities to impose stricter rules on landlords forcefully evicting healthcare professionals. “Though a circular has been issued by the government of NCT Delhi, but still the situation doesn’t seem to be improving,” it states.
Gautam said no response has been received from the Prime Minister yet.
ThePrint also tried to contact the Union health ministry’s spokesperson for a comment, and will update this report when he does.