Why PG medical students in Bengaluru are refusing COVID-19 duty

They have demanded that beds in Victoria and Bowring hospitals and must be retained for non-COVID-19 patients.
Protest by PG students in BMRCI
Protest by PG students in BMRCI
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Over 700 post graduate medical students stop attending COVID-19 duty from Monday at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI). The students belonged to Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of BMCRI and had demanded that the non-COVID-19 beds be retained and not be converted to COVID-19 beds.

This came after the decision was made by the government to convert a portion of the beds in Victoria and Bowring hospitals to COVID-19 beds with the announcement of the second wave of COVID-19 by Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar. The students worried that the reduction of non-COVID patients will cause them to lose experience and skills that they had to learn in the course across various fields of medicine.

“The last year, the pandemic was new and we understand that the government needed resources. But now it has been a year and just wasting this kind of facilities in Victoria and Bowring for COVID-19 treatment will be a waste," said Dr Namratha, PG student, Department of Anesthesia, BMRCI.

She added, “We students lost a lot of practical experience last year. If this happens again then we will graduate without any skill. Does anyone like to go to a doctor who doesn’t know what they are doing?”

Added to the difficulties that the students face the RDA has raised questions about the situation this will create for lower income sections of the society.

Dr Namratha further said that Victoria and Bowring hospitals have the facilities to provide excellent healthcare at affordable prices. With an example she explained that a patient who has to get an appendectomy the cost in private hospitals would be at least Rs 50,000 but the same could be done at Rs 5,000 in these two hospitals.

This demand poses the question as to where lower income COVID-19 patients must go for treatment by the same logic. For this the RDA proposed converting the non-teaching government hospitals to COVID-19 treatment facility and retaining these two facilities for non-COVID-19 patients.

Officials could not be reached for comment

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