Telangana

After Gandhi Hospital, Osmania General Hospital junior doctors boycott COVID-19 duties

Critically-ill suspects of the infectious disease are admitted to Osmania General Hospital, one of the largest government tertiary care hospital.

Critically-ill suspects of the infectious disease are admitted to Osmania General Hospital, one of the largest government tertiary care hospital.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Lack of support from other departments leading to overburdening, and insufficient infrastructure like oxygen ports leading to the death of some suspects are the reasons for the protest.

Junior doctors from Telangana have once again raised serious concerns regarding the State’s public health system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A week after a hard-hitting protest by Gandhi Hospital junior doctors, General Medicine Post Graduate students (junior doctors) from Osmania General Hospital (OGH), Hyderabad, boycotted elective and emergency COVID-19 duties from June 20, levelling a damning allegation that insufficient critical infrastructure at the State government hospital was leading to deaths of some COVID-19 suspects.

“It’s like we are attending duties to declare deaths. We are ready to continue duty. But it is people who will be at a loss if the state of health system remains the same,” said a post-graduate (PG) student on condition of anonymity. The allegation was levelled by other PG students too whose emotions were running high. They continued the boycott on the morning of June 21 too.

However, the hospital’s superintendent Dr. B. Nagender denied the allegation and said that the deaths were due to the natural course of the disease.

Also read: The vulnerability of Gandhi Hospital

Critically-ill suspects of the infectious disease are admitted at OGH, one of the largest government tertiary care hospital. From around 10 suspects a day, the number of cases has increased to 100. General Medicine department has been assigned to attend to the suspects. Around 33 PG students from General Medicine course and faculty members have been attending to the COVID-19 suspects for the last two-and-a-half months. With all the PG students boycotting the duties on Saturday, around 14 faculty members attended to the duties.

The two reasons given by the junior doctors for the boycott were, one, lack of support from other departments leading to overburdening, and two, insufficient infrastructure like oxygen ports leading to the death of some suspects.

“We have been working and will continue to work. But PGs from other departments too have to be allotted the COVID duties so that burden gets distributed. We are over stretched. Of the 33 PGs from General Medicine department, four contracted the infectious disease and a few more are asymptomatic. So it is 27 of us now. Only four attend duties in a day,” said another General Medicine PG student on condition of anonymity.

A source in the hospital said that there are only 20 oxygen ports for the COVID suspects. “Most of the suspects need oxygen. Besides, a few of the suspects suffer from lack of dialysis or other medical procedure. On some days, we see patients die before us and we stand helpless because of the issues,” the source said.

The hospital superintendent denied the allegations. “Yes, some of the suspects died. But the cause was the natural course of the disease We procured five ventilators, monitors and other infrastructure. We will get more in the next two days,” he said.

The junior doctors met the Mr. Nagender to put forth their grievances. He said that around 30 house surgeons (MBBS interns) were assigned to COVID duties.

“But the house surgeons are supposed to be trained. It would be of help if newly admitted General Medicine PGs are allowed to attend to the duties,” a junior doctor said. They had not taken a call on whether to call off the boycott or not on Sunday.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 12:15:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/after-gandhi-hospital-osmania-general-hospital-junior-doctors-boycott-covid-19-duties/article31881655.ece

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