Don't bring all COVID-19 cases to Gandhi Hospital only: Protesting doctors in Telangana

The doctors want to ease the pressure on Gandhi Hospital, which is designated as the hospital for handling COVID-19 cases.
PG doctors demand decentralization of COVID-19 cases in Telangana
PG doctors demand decentralization of COVID-19 cases in Telangana
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Protests by the PG doctors continued for the second day on Wednesday at Gandhi Hospital after the family of a COVID-19 patient who had died, attacked a PG doctor alleging negligence by the authorities. Among the demands of providing additional security, the protesting doctors also asked the state government to decentralise the handling of COVID-19 cases. Presently, Telangana is functioning in a centralised style, with state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad being designated as the sole hospital for handling COVID-19 cases.

Speaking to TNM, Dr Ritesh, a PG resident doctor working in the Intensive Care Unit said, “For the past three months we have been working relentlessly. For the 250 beds in the ICU, there are only 40 doctors. Look at the proportion of it. There is only one doctor for six patients. This is how we’ve been overworking.”

Another protesting doctor, Dr Kiran said, “The government should immediately decentralise the COVID-19 cases. All the hospitals should be allowed to take both coronavirus and non-coronavirus cases and ease the pressure on Gandhi Hospital.”

Kiran pointed out, “All the coronavirus cases, irrespective of the patient’s condition, from all districts are brought to Gandhi Hospital. Instead, they should be treated at the district level. It is a huge waste of resources where ambulances have to be sent for hundreds of kilometers to bring the patient. Time is also lost in this process.”

“Why can’t they provide at least 50 beds in each district headquarters?” he asked. 

The doctors claimed that they are also getting affected academically as they are forgetting their subjects taught to them. “We are dealing with only COVID-19 cases now, and our specialisation has gone for a toss,” said a doctor working in Gandhi Hospital.

The doctors said that the decision to demand decentralisation was also taken in the interest of the poor.

“Normally, Gandhi, Osmania and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences hospital cater to around 7,000 patients from poor financial backgrounds, per day. Now, we’re restricting them and denying their basic right to health care. There are many other diseases and many cases to handle. Where will these people go?” Kiran argued. 

On Tuesday night, yet again a PG doctor was assaulted with metal chairs by relatives of a 55-year-old patient diagnosed with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), who collapsed and died. This is the third such instance in Telangana. 

Protesting the repeated attacks, at least 250 doctors boycotted their duties and protested on the main road in front of the Gandhi Hospital on Wednesday. 

The charter of demands of the protesting doctors include: Deployment of paramilitary forces; immediate recruitment of specialist doctors, nursing staff, paramedical staff, ward boys and other staff on a permanent basis; providing adequate Personal Protection Equipment kits, N-95 masks to all health workers across the state; and inclusion of a Telangana Junior Doctors’ Association member in the advisory committee to the Health Department. 

Meanwhile, two persons have been arrested by the Hyderabad police for the attack on the doctor. 

The accused have been booked under sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 and 270, (negligent/malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), and 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) of the Indian Penal Code, section 3 in The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and section 4 of the Telangana Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2008.

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