JUST ABOUT a fortnight ago, when Dr Sanjay Gangurde (56), an ENT surgeon at the Nashik Civil Hospital returned from work, his neighbours hailed him as a “corona warrior” and clapped and whistled for him. But on Tuesday, after finding out that he had tested positive, Dr Gangurde said they did not allow him to enter the building.
Dr Gangurde, also the acting civil surgeon at the hospital, tested positive on Tuesday. A message was soon circulated on WhatsApp groups that “a civil hospital doctor living in Nashik’s Gangapur Road has been found to be positive”.
The doctor lives in ‘Rushiraj Hi-rise Society’ on Gangapur Road.
Since Dr Gangurde was asymptomatic, he was advised home isolation. The Health Ministry’s guidelines specify that “very mild/ pre-symptomatic patients having requisite facility at his/ her residence for self-isolation will have the option for home isolation”.
But the residents of ‘Rushiraj Hi-rise Society’ reportedly held a meeting and decided to bar his entry. Dr Gangurde said he got phone calls from the building’s committee members, telling him not to return home. And when he still went on Tuesday, he was not allowed to enter the building.
When contacted, some committee members of the society refused to comment, while others did not respond to calls.
The doctor said he had no option but to remain at the Nashik Civil Hospital. While the 100-bed hospital is a COVID-19 treatment centre, Dr Gangurde said he has isolated himself in a storage room, while his wife, a tehsildar, is in an adjoining room. She is waiting for her test report. Their meals are being arranged by their friends.
“I used to distribute masks and sanitisers to all doctors. Here at the hospital, I have no mask or sanitiser. There are few facilities here to isolate and take care of oneself. At home, I could have had things at my disposal. Neither the hospital authorities, nor the municipal corporation, nor the police are willing to intervene. My wife is terribly upset,” Dr Gangurde told The Indian Express. He said he was finally given a sanitiser when he asked for it.
But Dr Suresh Jagdale, District Civil Surgeon, said: “He is not in a quarantine facility but at a COVID care centre. He has been kept in a special room, and I can assure you it is not a storage room. I agree that facilities there are not akin to what you can expect at one’s home. He has been holding a vital position in the hospital and we are taking adequate care of him.”
Two other doctors of the hospital have tested positive so far.
Meanwhile, Dr Gangurde’s sons, both studying in the US, have sought help from the authorities in a social media post.-with Inputs from Zeeshan Shaikh