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Coronavirus scare | Hospitals in Kolkata turn away other patients in need of care

File photo used for representational purpose.

File photo used for representational purpose.  

Women with UTI and high fever are seen as potential coronavirus cases

A 24-year-old cabin crew staff from Sikkim, working with a major airlines and based out of Kolkata, had a dark night at the government-run Bangur Hospital in south Kolkata. She was admitted to the hospital with a mild fever, which was certified as unrelated to coronavirus fever. However, she was kept overnight in a coronavirus isolation room “filled with people who were coughing”.

“I have had a history of UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and so I went to see the doctor after experiencing stomach pain. I visited two hospitals, KPC in Jadavpur and one in Tollygunge (Bangur Hospital) and they asked me to go to the Infectious Diseases [ID] Hospital in Beliaghata,” the woman said.

‘No one listened’

She was told at the Beliaghata ID Hospital that she did not have symptoms of the coronavirus and she was not admitted. “But I was again asked to return to Bangur and made to stay in the hospital for the night, among many patients who were coughing. I repeatedly said that I would catch the virus in the hospital, as I do not have it. But no one listened,” she told The Hindu. Moreover, she was asked if she was from China.

Finally, her family members in Gangtok and her employers intervened. Ministers from Sikkim spoke to their counterparts in the West Bengal government and the authorities at the Bangur Hospital, after which she was discharged.

The cabin crew member’s is not uncommon. Women with UTI are having a particularly harrowing time as UTI patients usually run a high fever. The key problem, however, is that people with high fever or a cold and cough are denied entry in medical facilities that are not treating coronavirus patients. This is becoming a “huge problem”, said doctors.

If doctors are scared, who will fight the battle?

A leading gastroenterologist thumped his desk when asked about non-admission of patients in health facilities.

“This has now become a nightmare. When my patients are admitted with UTI-related fever or liver ailment-related fever, they are refused [treatment] by top private hospitals in the city,” he said, on condition of anonymity.

Some nursing homes have also been shut down in view of the crisis.

“If hospital managements, who have to be at the forefront of this battle, get scared, then who is going to fight and win it?” the doctor asked. He blamed hospital managements for refusing to treat patients with “plain fever” though doctors are “going to work”.

The management of one private hospital said that they did “not have too many options other than to take precautionary measures”.

Pradeep Ghosh, secretary of the Bengal Chemists and Druggists Association in North 24 Paraganas district said that doctors from Kolkata were not reaching the districts. “Local MBBS doctors are managing the situation for now as senior doctors and experts are not coming,” said Mr. Ghosh, who resides in Barrackpore, about 50 km from Kolkata.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:33:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-scare-hospitals-in-kolkata-turn-away-other-patients-in-need-of-care/article31219329.ece

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