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Thursday, July 09, 2020

Mumbai: No nurses, class IV staff to help patients, say KEM doctors in video

The video shows a ward in KEM hospital, with the doctor saying that there were no nurses or ward boys to help him and his two colleagues. There were no attendants to help the patients use the bathroom or bring them food, he added.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: June 3, 2020 5:17:22 am
coronavirus cases, Covid-19 patients, KEM doctors, Mumbai news, Indian express news A KEM hospital official, however, said the video was shot in between shifts when nurses and class IV workers take over from the staffers of the earlier shift. (File/Representational)

A resident doctor in KEM hospital on Tuesday made a video public, narrating how he and his colleagues are struggling to handle the huge load of Covid-19 patients in the government hospital.

The video shows a ward in KEM hospital, with the doctor saying that there were no nurses or ward boys to help him and his two colleagues. There were no attendants to help the patients use the bathroom or bring them food, he added.

“For days now, we don’t have nurses, class IV workers and servants to help patients. None of patients have relatives with them, none of them have any means to go to the washroom, none of them have means to feed (themselves),” the doctor is heard saying. He added that three doctors were managing 35 patients all by themselves.

Another resident doctor in the video said, “I am feeling helpless right now. I can’t do anything, I can’t let him (patient) die in front of my eyes. I have no one to help me.”

A KEM hospital official, however, said the video was shot in between shifts when nurses and class IV workers take over from the staffers of the earlier shift. “It takes time for workers in a new shift to wear their personal protective equipment,” the official added.

The BMC, in a statement issued on Tuesday night, said the video was shot when a shift of nurses and ward boys had ended. “The video was distorted, as it was shot during the change of duty,” said KEM hospital Dean Dr Hemant Deshmukh.

The civic body maintained that staffers are working in three shifts, and are handling patients smoothly.

The immediate fallout of the video was that BMC health committee chairman Amey Ghole reached out to Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) on Tuesday, and scheduled a meeting between the resident doctors, the hospital administration and the health workers on Thursday to address the staff problem.

A doctor from MARD told The Indian Express that senior lecturers and professors hardly visit isolation wards. “A colleague of mine changed diapers of a patient at Nair hospital. Last week, my colleague sealed a body in KEM Hospital. We are requesting the government to only ensure that a person performs the job assigned to him or her. Resident doctors are handling most of the work,” he said.

Pradeep Narkar, secretary of Municipal Mazdoor Union, said shortage of nurses and class IV employees was an issue even before the Covid-19 pandemic. “After the outbreak, several remain under quarantine or are infected, so the shortage has become acute,” he added.

A resident doctor from the ENT department at KEM hospital agreed. “We need ward boys but they are so less in number that it is impossible to keep the wards clean. Nurses are supposed to inject patients or put them on (intra-veinous) saline. Since they are few, resident doctors are doing that job.”

In the video, a resident doctor said he had to prepare medicine, intubate and inject a patient. “He is critical, if I don’t do it, he will die,” he added.

At Sion hospital, where 70 resident doctors are infected with Covid-19, a resident doctor said: “The situation is getting worse. Doctors are testing positive and we are short on manpower.”

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