Dr Aruna and two head nurses at Thiruvananthapuram MCH were suspended after it was found that a COVID-19 patient's back was infested with maggots on discharge.

Doctors and nurses in white coats, wearing mask and face shield standing in protest
news Protest Sunday, October 04, 2020 - 08:20

In a symbolic gesture, COVID-19 duty doctors across Kerala have submitted their resignations to show solidarity with a colleague who they believe was unfairly suspended by the government.On Friday, doctors across the state took to the streets to protest against the suspension of Dr Aruna, a COVID-19 nodal officer at the Government Medical College hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. The suspension was based on a medical negligence case, where the family of a coronavirus patient, identified as Anil Kumar, complained that he had not been treated well at Thiruvananthapuram MCH and that his back was infested with maggots when he was discharged.

Before an inquiry was completed, the nodal officer of the ward, Dr Aruna, and two head nurses were suspended with immediate effect until pending inquiry. However, experts have pointed out that the root of the problem lies in the fact that the hospitals are heavily understaffed, and working with bare minimum workforce.

“We have raised the issue multiple times with the government. They know we are understaffed and hence cannot individually monitor every patient in the ward,” Dr Nirmal Bhaskar, secretary of Kerala Government Medical College Teachers Association, told TNM.

With COVID-19 cases rising in Kerala by the day, there are 550 COVID-19 patients who are receiving treatment at the Medical College ward. There are 60 critical patients, of which 25 patients are bedridden, with minimum staff to monitor, he added.

“Suspending three more essential staff at this juncture is unfair. Moreover, Dr Aruna is among the most dedicated of medical officers in the hospital and suspending her before an inquiry is unacceptable,” he said.

On Saturday, all nodal officers of Thiruvananthapuram COVID-19 hospitals resigned in order to extend support to Dr Aruna. On Sunday, nodal officers from across the state will also turn in their resignation letters to protest against the government’s move. The doctors’ demands include revoking the suspension order issued to Dr Aruna. Nurses unions, too, have begun protesting against the Kerala government’s move.

Read: Kerala COVID-19 patient who was discharged by hospital had maggots on his back

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