States

Private doctors’ role vital in fight against pandemic, says Uddhav

Appealing to family physicians to join in the fight against COVID-19, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that the role of private doctors was crucial in early detection which could in turn help facilitate timely treatment for the patient.

Mr. Thackeray, along with doctors of the State COVID-19 task force, held a ‘medical conference’ via videoconferencing in which over 700 doctors from the State participated.

“Every household has its own family doctor, who are intimately acquainted with the history of illnesses of the members of that family. Given that 70%-75% COVID-19 patients do not show any symptoms of the novel coronavirus, they remain in home isolation. However, some begin developing symptoms later and by the time they are admitted to the hospital, it is too late. So, the responsibility and role of all doctors and physicians, and not just specialists, is becoming very important in this pandemic,” he said.

The Chief Minister said that if family physicians kept a regular tab on their patients and updated ward officers regularly, then municipal authorities could make arrangements for further treatment in a proper manner.

“Family doctors play a vital role in reining in the contagion by helping identify symptoms, if any, at the early stage of patients who are in home isolation. They can check whether a patient is asymptomatic or needs hospitalisation,” he said.

Mr. Thackeray urged private doctors to come forward as part of the ‘My Doctor’ drive and register themselves with COVID-19 care centres and jumbo hospitals in their localities and visit the facilities for consultation.

Mr. Thackeray further said that in anticipation of a ‘third wave’ of the virus that, according to experts, could hit children hard, a paediatric task force was being set up by the State government.

During the meeting, the State government’s task force of medical experts headed by Dr. Sanjay Oak, Dr. Shashank Joshi, Dr. Rahul Pandit, Dr. Tatyarao Lahane and Dr. Ashish Bhumkar, informed private medical practitioners about COVID-19 treatment protocols.

They told the doctors about use of steroids, importance of six-minute walk test, how to identify the need for giving oxygen, identifying reduction in oxygen level, treatment of mucormycosis — a fungal infection detected in COVID-19 survivors, use of key anti-viral drug Remdesivir, and taking care of patients on ventilators.

Dr. Oak exhorted all doctors, not just those with an MBBS degree but those who were BMS and Ayush-qualified, to come forward in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

“In monitoring post-COVID-19 problems, you [family physicians] are the first-level responders. While you may not have RT-PCR testing machinery at your disposal, you can help perform the vital function in helping identify ‘serious’, ‘potentially serious’, and ‘not serious’ cases while tracking for any symptoms,” he said.

Given that Maharashtra would have a robust monsoon and that the rainy season was at hand, Dr. Oak warned that the season would prove a fertile breeding ground for viruses.

“Even when patients come in with cold, cough and ordinary fever, doctors must always suspect a possibility of COVID-19…. While reviewing COVID-19 related deaths, when we had questioned relatives of the deceased by asking leading questions, we realised that in a number of cases, early detection may have helped,” Dr. Oak said, stressing on the importance of the role played by family physicians.

He further said that precious oxygen should be treated like a drug.

“Oxygen cannot be wasted. There is a State oxygen audit committee in being to monitor its usage and hospitals and medical establishments must be careful and check on damaged pipelines or leaking rubber pipes,” Dr. Oak said.

Commenting on the alarming rise of mucormycosis cases and deaths resulting from it, he emphasised on the need for medical personnel to completely sterilise instruments like tubes and nasal cannula, which could prove to be a source of fungal infection if not cleaned properly.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 2:40:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/private-doctors-role-vital-in-fight-against-pandemic-says-uddhav/article34575013.ece

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