Millennium Post

In Bihar's hospital, docs on Covid duty deployed to treat OPD patients too

New Delhi: You may call it apathy or insensitivity towards COVID-19 containment strategies of the officials holding the decision making posts at Bihar's premier healthcare institute Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) as doctors deployed in COVID-19 wards have also been assigned to look after non-COVID-19 patients during OPD hours and vice-versa. The order has posed a threat of getting infected with the virus among medical professionals and general patients.

The order regarding deployment of a total 17 doctors for dual duty has been issued by PMCH's medical superintendent Bimal Karak and HoD medicine MP Singh. However, both the "responsible" heads remained incommunicado despite several attempts to get their comments on the issue.

Both the copies of the order dated July 19 by the MS office and order dated July 18 by HoD medicine are in possession of Millennium Post. Notably, there are four doctors of medicine department who have contracted with the virus.

Commenting on the dual duty, a senior ICMR scientist said, "Since it's not in the ambit of the ICMR to advise states on deployment of doctors, but there is a common practice that health professionals treating COVID-19 positive patients should not be allowed to treat general patients. It's really shocking as how PMCH has allowed it to happen. This would risk the lives of both -- doctors and general patients."

As per reports, 12 doctors of PMCH have been tested COVID-19 positive, including ENT-specialist Dr NK Singh, who succumbed to the disease after he contracted the virus. As of now, Bihar has reported total 28,564 cases of coronavirus out which 198 have died.

Meanwhile, IMA has also sought the safety of over 300 doctors and health workers who are currently infected with coronavirus and have been admitted to various hospitals for treatment.

In a related development, the Central team that visited Bihar's first COVID-19 dedicated facility Nalanda Medical College & Hospital (NMCH), in Patna red-flagged poor mechanism to control the spread of the virus.

The three-member Central team, which was led by joint secretary Lav Agarwal, was shocked to see an unrestricted movement of attendants and several other people in COVID-19 wards.

The Central team has instructed Bihar government to enforce guidelines strictly in the containment zones and limit people's movement in order to contain the spread of the virus. After visiting containment zones of Patna and Gaya, Agrawal has also asked the state officials to prepare a strategy for tracing and breaking the COVID-19 chain.

The central team has advised the state government to continue with house to house screening at regular intervals and rope in more health workers for this work.

On the free movement in COVID-19 wards, Dr Neeraj Nischal of AIIMS, Delhi said, "The wards are prohibited areas and attendants' unrestricted movement would make them potential superspreaders."

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