In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum (WBDF) has sought the reservation of hospital beds for health workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. A copy of the letter has been sent to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s office.
According to sources, at least 18 doctors have succumbed to the virus in the last few months, most of them above 60 years. On Monday, three doctors in Kolkata died of Covid-19.
“At least five to 10 beds in each hospital should be reserved for doctors as the number of health workers being infected by Covid-19 is increasing day by day. We have written a letter to the PM and the same has also been sent to CMO. We are waiting for a response. The situation in districts is the worst, and in such a condition it’s important to keep beds reserved for doctors and other health care staff,” WBDF secretary Dr Koushik Chaki told The Indian Express.
The three doctors who died on Monday were identified as Dr Tapan Sinha, a cardiologist, ophthalmologist Dr Biswajit Mandal, and general physician Dr Pradip Bhattacharya.
Sources said Dr Sinha, who used to work in a private hospital in South Kolkata, contracted the virus last month. He developed a high fever and complained of breathlessness. On being tested, he was found positive. He died in Apollo Hospital.
Dr Mandal, from Barrackpore, was in Fortis hospital for more than 20 days. He was on ventilator support towards the end. Dr Bhattacharya also died in a private medical facility.
“It is a sad day for doctors. All three doctors worked hard during this pandemic,” said a senior health official.
“Out of these 18, most of them are non-Covid doctors. It is not that if you treat a Covid patient only then you have chances of corona virus infecting your body. Doctors are risking their lives. Fourteen non-Covid doctors have been killed in the last few months,” said a doctor.
According to the WBDF, infection in health workers has been increasing almost everyday, and if the situation worsens there will be an acute shortage of doctors and other frontline workers. The forum said there had been instances of doctors struggling to get timely treatment and admission to hospitals.
“If the proposal is accepted it will be quite a relief for doctors and health workers who have been fighting this pandemic without thinking about their lives,” said a doctor at a state hospital who wished to remain anonymous.
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