It is surprising that doctors and nurses, who can save many lives, have to put their own lives at risk for the want of proper PPE’s. The cost of PPE’s is not more than few hundred rupees. Even such a cheap facility is not available to the saviors for their own protection. Such episodes are not only painful to the medical fraternity but also expose the hypocritical attitude of the administrators as well as the insensitive approach of society towards health care workers, although everyone expects doctors and nurses to be sensitive towards every one. Such incidents demoralizes and causes deep discouragement to the front line doctor and nurses, but sadly remains a routine business for administrators. The pain of being treated like a dispensable disposables remains as a deep hurt within.
At least 10 senior resident doctors deputed on Covid-19 duty at government hospitals and 70 nurses in private facilities have quit their jobs, with most citing poor protective gear to combat the virus as a reason.
While the senior residents said they were dejected with the poor state-of affairs at hospitals and the looming threat of contracting the infection, some individual doctors and nurses took a break from the profession, until the pandemic, gets over. These doctors are from the Osmania Medical College (OMC) and Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) hospital Warangal among other government hospitals. So far, 300 doctors and other medical personnel in the government sector alone have contracted the virus, with worries of sub-standard protective gear and long working hours, forcing doctors to even go on strike. Some senior resident doctors deputed from the OMC to the Chest Hospital never reported for duty, while others served for one or two months before putting in their papers. “The problem is not just that there was a threat of infection and we didn’t get proper personal protection equipment (PPE) kits, it seemed like a waste of effort. Even if a patient was dying in front of me, I could do nothing at all,” said one of the senior resident doctor who had resigned from the OMC .
“We didn’t have staff, we didn’t have the infrastructure, we didn’t have proper PPE kits or any other provision required. It seemed like a futile effort,” he said. Despite the guilt of having resigned in the middle of an ongoing pandemic, the doctors said that their presence or absence hardly made any difference to the situation. Authorities ignored repeated complaints It was like there is everything wrong, but no one was there to take responsibility. I felt bad about resigning but after over a month of working and making repeated requests for additional doctors and nurses, there was no difference. It was just a blame game,” another doctor told TOI. From the medicine department at Osmania General Hospital (OGH), six senior residents have resigned, while few others have resigned at the MGM hospital, said Dr Mahesh Kumar, president, Healthcare Reforms Doctors Association (HRDA). “At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of issues with PPE kits and infrastructure and despite repeated representations they were not sorted out. Most of the residents resigned in the first two months of the pandemic, discouraged by the situation and fearing for their personal safety,” he added. Apart from doctors, 70 nurses who are at the frontline have gone missing from work too. “A least 30 of these nurses went missing from a single corporate hospital. Currently, there is a huge shortage of nurses as most are reluctant to do Covid-19 duties,” said Laxman Rudavath, president, Nursing Officers Association of Telangana.