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Short-staffed and overburdened: How doctors at Alshifa hospital managed — with some help

As the doctors made frantic calls to colleagues, they found most of them were stuck due to the chaos and barricading in the area.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi | Updated: December 18, 2019 6:51:26 am
jamia violence, jamia protests, citizenship law protests jamia,delhi students protest caa, caa protests, students injured in jamia police violence, south delhi hospital, doctors, alshifa hospital, delhi city news, indian express news Five doctors— one each from AIIMS, RML and Lady Hardinge and two from private hospitals nearby— volunteered to help

On Sunday, Alshifa Multi-speciality hospital in South Delhi’s Okhla was in a fix as the number of people injured following the police action on Jamia Millia Islamia campus kept increasing.

The hospital had only two doctors and a few nursing staff to cater to more than 150 people—mostly students standing at the hospital’s gallery, with complaints of breathlessness or injuries to their legs, hands and torso. As the doctors made frantic calls to colleagues, they found most of them were stuck due to the chaos and barricading in the area.

To their surprise, five doctors — one each from AIIMS, RML, Lady Hardinge and two from private hospitals residing nearby — volunteered to help. From an anesthestist to a gynaecologist, doctors from the area came forward to handle the rush of injured.

“Our doctors were unable to reach the hospital due to the situation in the area. As it was Sunday, the hospital strength was extremely thin. We were trying to provide treatment to each and every patient coming to us,” said Dr Modassin Azim, consultant at the hospital’s emergency unit.

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“This was all unexpected and staff at the hospital were not enough to deal with the patient load. But doctors managed to treat all patients, and some doctors from other hospitals also volunteered,” said Dr Abdul Nazar, the hospital director. On Sunday, there were just three nurses in the emergency to deal with the patient load.

Dr Saif Nizam, who works with a government hospital and lives in Okhla, turned up after seeing posts on social media. “Whenever there’s a casualty, we are always called to the hospital to treat patients. I was home when news of the violence broke. Being a doctor, and above that, a citizen, I thought I should immediately reach and see if they need help. The hospital staff was already trying to manage patients,” he said.

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Dr Nizam treated around five-six patients and offered them basic first-aid and stitches.

Doctors at Alshifa soon began updating their WhatsApp statuses, asking fellow doctors for help. One such message reached Dr Adiba Siddquie, a resident medical officer at a private hospital in Shaheen Bagh. “Several doctors put up statuses on WhatsApp and Facebook asking for help. As I lived nearby, I rushed to the hospital and met doctors in the emergency department. I helped them provide basic medical care and some medical examinations,” said Dr Siddiquie.

Senior officials said injections, bandages and other basic medicines were in short supply Monday, as the influx continued through the day.

Dr Samia Ansari, a gynaecologist at Lady Hardinge hospital, said: “My brother’s friend was seriously injured. He called and asked if I could help. The hospital is five minutes away from my home, so I rushed to help.”

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