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‘Sometimes we feel air moving inside PPE kit,’ say doctors treating COVID-19 patients at Amritsar hospital, probe ordered

"A doctor had to spend the hours on duty with PPE kits that already had a leak after it tore in a coronavirus ward. It is not an isolated incident."

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar | Updated: April 24, 2020 8:06:54 pm
ppe kits, doctors coronavirus ppe, covid 19 doctors, doctors treating coronavirus, amritsar hospital ppe kits, faulty ppe kits The Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) are essential for medical staff treating coronavirus patients

Amritsar MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla has asked the deputy commissioner (DC) to probe allegations of faulty Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits leveled by doctors, nurses and supporting staff at the Government Medical College.

The College administration has issued notices to its employees for their public statements regarding the safety equipments, saying they were “hurting the image of the institution”.

“PPE kits are not only unfit but also faulty. Wearing PPE kit is not enough. It is not any vaccine that will protect you after wearing it. It is a physical equipment and works only if it is fit on the body of medical worker. But sometimes we feel air moving inside PPE kit. It means PPE kit is not securing our body from virus,” said a doctor, not wanting to be named.

He added, “Yesterday, a doctor was wearing PPE kit in the Coronavirus ward. It suddenly tore off while he was taking case of Coronavirus patients. Viruses may infect even if it’s exposed with the atmosphere for one second in the COVID-19 ward. But our doctor had to spend rest of the hours on duty with PPE kits that already had a leak. It is not an isolated incident. Material of PPE kits are not good. It is posing high risk to medical staff.”

“Besides, many PPE kits are unfit for workers. Often some part of the body remain exposed as these kits would not cover all the body. There is no procedure of fitting test before deciding which size of PPE would be appropriate for a person going into Coronavirus ward. We have to accept what is given at the start of shift. 18 to 20 PPE kits are consumed during one shift,” said doctor.

The Punjab Nursing Association, in a statement said, “A total of 2,000 pieces of PPE kits were procured from the fund provided by Lok Sabha MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Rajya Sabha MP Shawait Malik. These cost around Rs 44 lakh. PPE kits are of sub-standard material and not safe for staff.” Aujla had provided Rs 1 crore to the medical college in the last week of March to fight the coronavirus.

Talking to The Indian Express, MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla admmited that he was getting anonymous complaints about faulty and unfit kits and has ordered a probe into the allegations. “I have asked Amritsar DC to conduct probe and submit report into such allegations,” said Aujla.

He further said, “I had provided funds of Rs one crore to the Government Medical College in last week of March. College had to buy material on its own. I am not an expert of medical field and college has to make the decision on PPE kits. Now I have received anonymous complaints about faulty and unfit PPE kits. I will investigate such allegations. Doctors should have sense of security. If doctors have no sense of security then PPE kits are of no use.”

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