Hyderabad: Junior doctors of Gandhi Hospital staging protest on Wednesday after a Post Graduate student was allegedly attacked by attendants of a patient who died the previous day.

Striking junior doctors demand equal distribution of cases across hospitals The issues raised by protesting junior doctors has exposed the chinks in Telangana government’s strategy in managing COVID-19 cases in the State. One of the issues voiced by all junior doctors included the high level of exhaustion in them with all coronavirus cases being sent to Gandhi Hospital in the past three months. They sought that patients be distributed across government hospitals in the State.

Tired yet seething with anger, the junior doctors who were on protest said that they are at the receiving end of misbehaviour of patients/ attendants due to inadequate facilities at the hospital, including the number of doctors, nurses, patient care providers and para medical staff.

Their grievances could be clearly read on the placards that they held during the protest on Musheerabad main road on Wednesday. Some of the striking slogans were: ‘4 crore population, 1 hospital, Justify!!’, ‘Exhausted and under staffed’ , ‘PPE or rice bag’.

Senior officials from the State Health department, however, have been claiming that all patients at the hospital are provided all-round care.

Telangana Junior Doctors Association (T-JUDA) leaders did not mince words in expressing their demands or problems. In a letter addressed to Health Minister Eatala Rajender, they said that the cases have to be decentralised to prevent mounting of pressure on one hospital leading to “crumbling of an already pathetic infrastructure”.

Junior doctors of Gandhi Hospital staging protest on Musheerabad main road on Wednesday after their colleague was assaulted by a COVID victim’s attendant on Tuesday; (below) two junior doctors drawing attention to the issue of overburdening the hospital.
Medicos at Gandhi Hospital to continue protest

Currently, majority of the cases are admitted to the tertiary care hospital. Questions were raised over why the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (TIMS), the renovated facility for COVID treatment, was not being put to use.

They also drew attention to the fact that the two-and-a-half-month lockdown period had given the Health department enough time to implement plans on efficiently handling COVID-19 cases, but there still remain gaping gaps in public health system.

Giving a broad idea of inadequate workforce, a junior doctor who attends critical COVID-19 patients said there is only one patient care provider for 65 beds in the ICU. There are around 300 beds in three ICUs, which are completely occupied. “If a patient’s diaper has to be changed, we need a patient care provider who is already attending other patients. We have to put up with all the yelling and cursing from the patients till the time the patient’s diaper is changed. And there are only four nurses in the ICU. Imagine the distress among the patients and us,” a junior doctor said.

Not enough specialists
Though officials have been claiming that there are sufficient doctors in the State, she said what needs to be asked if there are enough specialists to handle the situation. “It is PGs and senior doctors from Pulmonology, General Medicine, Anaesthesia, and a few more departments who attend critical care patients. And our number is not adequate,” she added.

This issue was mentioned in the representation addressed to the Health Minister. The protesting doctors demanded immediate recruitment of specialist and broad specialist doctors, nursing staff, patient care providers, lab technicians, ICU technicians, and ward boys on permanent basis.

They have also demanded adequate Personal Protective Equipment and N95 masks in all public hospitals across the State. “If you wear the PPE kits provided to us, we bet you will get dehydrated and ask for water within 10-15 minutes. How can we work for 8-12 hours wearing such PPE,” another junior doctor questioned.

“We are completely tired,” said another participating in the protest.

Courtesy The Hindu