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Coronavirus | Anxious relatives accost doctors, medical staff in Bihar

A message outside the COVID-19 ward of NMCH (Nalanda Medical College & Hospital ) announces lack of beds, amid the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country, in Patna, Friday, April 23, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Anxious relatives of COVID-19 patients had heated arguments with doctors and medical staff at several places in Bihar. Like others States, Bihar too is facing an acute shortage of oxygen cylinders, anti-viral drugs and beds in hospitals, causing great hardships and anxiety to relatives of COVID-19 patients, who have been left running from one hospital to another. Long queues were seen outside medical shops in Patna for anti-viral and anti-bacterial drugs commonly used in treating COVID-19.

“In such an emergency-like situation, relatives of patients sometimes get into heated arguments with doctors and paramedic staff but they have to understand that medical professionals have also been working round the clock,” Dr. Sanjay Suman, who works in a government hospital, told The Hindu over phone.

Union Minister of State for Power, New and Renewable Energy R.K. Singh on Saturday visited the government hospital at Ara, district headquarters of Bhojpur, from where he is a Bharatiya Janata Party MP, and said anyone who “assaulted” doctors would be “sent to jail and beaten up”.

Earlier, manhandling of doctors at the Ara hospital had been reported. Mr. Singh also asked the district administration and hospital authorities to work in tandem for the smooth supply of oxygen cylinders and drugs for COVID-19 patients.

Coronavirus updates | April 24, 2021

Media reports said ventilators in the government hospitals of some districts were not working and gathering dust. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday called for the immediate and proper maintenance of all ventilators. Mr. Kumar also said the government would bear the cost of COVID-19 treatment and medicines at Patna’s Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS).

Also read: Hospitals forced to turn away patients as cases rise in Bihar

On April 22, over 200 junior doctors at the NMCH went on strike demanding protection after attendants of a patient allegedly manhandled with some doctors over the issuance of a death certificate for a COVID-19 patient. They resumed work late on Friday night only after the Patna District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police visited them and provided adequate security personnel at the hospital. During the 24-hour strike, over 50 ambulances and private vehicles with critically ill COVID-19 patients were turned away by the hospital.

“We face a lack of oxygen cylinders and manpower, and adequate security for staff. On April 22, we panicked when we were informed that oxygen supply to patients would stop in the next 30 minutes, putting the lives of 200 patients at risk. Somehow, we managed to get some cylinders, which saved their lives. We need a reserve of 200 cylinders every day,” NMCH Superintendent Dr. Binod Kumar Singh said.

Also read: Hundreds of medical staff at Patna’s hospitals test positive

He also admitted that “hospital functioning from Thursday evening to Friday night was badly hit as several new admissions were refused” due to the junior doctors’ strike.

A Division Bench of the Patna High Court, comprising Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Mohit Kumar Shah, ordered that the shortage of oxygen in Bihar be met with proper coordination between the State and the Centre “at the earliest”. The court, while hearing several Public Interest Litigations clubbed together, had earlier sought to know the State’s action plan for supply of oxygen to COVID-19 treatment facilities.

A High Court employee Gagan Mishra recently died allegedly because of non-availability of oxygen at various hospitals in Patna. On April 23, the court said it would create an email address with which people could directly write to the court administration if any COVID-19 patient was denied admission to a government or private hospital on grounds of oxygen shortage.

The Superintendent of the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 government facility the State capital recently wrote to the government to remove him from his post in view of the shortage of oxygen cylinders at the hospital.

On Friday, Bihar recorded 54 deaths and 12,672 new positive cases in a single day. Till April 23, the State had 76,419 active COVID-19 cases, with the total death toll at 2,010.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 7:22:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-anxious-relatives-accost-doctors-medical-staff-in-bihar/article34401742.ece

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