Pandemic has unmasked the real risk to doctor and nurses. The occupational risk of being among the diseases, that was known to them, has been unveiled to everyone. That should have generated respect for health workers in a civilized society. What was actually desirable, was the encouragement and psychological support to these warriors. Good administrators were supposed to give some moral boosting and financial support, so that health staff should work willingly and inspire next generation for future catastrophe like this. Instead of armchair preaching to health care staff, there should have been robust rules and guidelines to protect health care staff and health systems as doctors and nurses are working under tremendous psychological pressure.
More importantly, among this chaotic situation, whether rules are being followed or not, how administrators are doing can be at the most a guess work, rather than following a uniform system. The possibility of chaotic management due to economical compulsions or just trying to be projected as an outstanding administrator may be a real possibility rather than exception.
Health care workers can be easily subjected to moral and legal blackmail or pressure to perform their duties in sub-optimal and below par conditions. They can be subject to moral, legal, financial or even pressure of physical assaults. Such pressures can be tremendous in health sector because of financial complexities.
Is the payment made to them is commensurate to the risk to their life and work they do? Who will pay them and how much in case harm or death of health care worker, every one refrains to discuss?
Are they given the real respect, what they deserve and are worthy of?
Every day when doctors and nurses, while going to work have this thought in mind. But still they continue to work amid their own tensions, worries about families. While it is clear to them that administrators refrain to discuss the issues, which matter to them the most.
Times of India carries a report that the interns will be punished, if they become positivefor Covid, while doing duties. Although possibly the circular is withdrawn, but it reflects the deep seated and hidden mental frame of administrators, about the intention, how they wish to behave with doctors. Why such punishments are not for other Government functionaries or officials or even public, who test positive. It is just an example, but there are numerous examples of such kind.
MUMBAI: The department of community medicine at KEM Hospital issued a circular on Thursday asking interns to give a written explanation on how they had been exposed to the Covid-19 infection, after an increasing number of interns went into quarantine. It further said they will be liable to repeat their internship for the duration period of the quarantine if there was any negligence in following “Covid-19 discipline”. The circular was withdrawn within a few hours, after it faced criticism from many. Doctors and students termed the circular “insensitive” and “unwarranted” during a pandemic. Dr Sagar Mundada, psychiatrist and former president of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, called the circular insensitive. “It is a pandemic. Why medical interns should be asked about the source of the infection?” An intern said some of them have been working for three months without stipend while their duty hours have been increased to 12. They collect swabs, blood and insert IV. 6/6/2020 Mumbai: KEM questions interns over quarantine, then backs off – dean Hemant Deshmukh said he had not signed the circular and it will not be implemented. Dr Gajanan Velhal, who signed it, said it was misunderstood. “No such action will be taken against any interns,” he said. Rajvi Bheda, a representative of the Association of State Medical Interns at KEM, said it seemed to be an attempt to ensure interns stay safe. “But it was unfair to the interns too, as it is difficult to identify the source of infection.
As Corona has unmasked the real risk to health workers and society has dealt with heath workers shabbily. Next younger generation of aspiring doctors, who is a witness to the cruelty shown towards health staff, may be forced to think about their decisions to become health workers. Possibly the administrators need to ponder now, who will treat people in next pandemic.