Medicos rue lack of practical exposure

Postgraduate students in government medical colleges are in a fix without any exposure to practical experience. A majority of them are put on COVID-19 duty alone ever since the pandemic struck last year and are not getting hands-on knowledge on other subjects.

Functionaries of the Kerala Medical Postgraduates Association (KMPGA) told The Hindu on Thursday that from March 2020, they had no regular theory classes for the three-year course. Though online classes had begun by the end of last year, there had not been any practical sessions. Students specialising in surgery were the worst affected as they had not got any chance to learn while on the job.

“As many as 600 general surgeries were done at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, in January 2020. Last month, only 90 elective surgeries, those done with prior planning, were conducted. The situation is similar in all other departments,” a student, who wished not to be quoted, said.

The main reason for this is that postgraduate students in anaesthesia are mainly put on duty in intensive care units for COVID-19 treatment. Because of this, their services are not available for conducting surgeries in departments such as orthopedics, gynaecology, urology, etc. The situation is similar in all government medical colleges.

“In normal circumstances, postgraduate students equip themselves with enough expertise so that they are able to do specialist surgeries on their own by the time they complete the course. But right now, we are rarely getting any chance to deal with non-COVID patients,” another student said. The postgraduate students are neither getting any risk allowance or COVID allowance either.

The students claim that this impasse was affecting patients as well. “Many patients with serious illnesses such as cancer are scared of coming to the medical college hospital due to the fear of contracting the infection. They reach here only in the final stage when conducting advanced surgery becomes difficult. We are left with providing only chemotherapy treatment,” they said.

The KMPGA leaders urged the authorities to decentralise COVID-19 treatment to taluk and district hospitals so that medical college hospitals would be free from half the burden. This would help other non-COVID patients who were in dire need of treatment, they added.

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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 4:09:27 pm |