COVID-19 +ve nurse goes to HC challenging termination

New Delhi: A nurse of HAH Centenary Hospital, infected with COVID-19, has knocked the door of the Delhi High Court, challenging the termination of her employment and 83 other staff members of the hospital. Gufrana Khatoon, a nurse of COVID-19 designated HAH Centenary Hospital of Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences & Research (HIMSR), was infected and tested positive for coronavirus on July 3 and was not provided free testing despite showing symptoms of COVID-19.

In the termination order dated July 11, HAH Centenary Hospital administration stated that these nurses were being relieved because of 'absence from office without sanctioned leave and absent without intimation'. However, several of them were on duty till July 11 and others were in quarantine, read the petition filed by lawyer Subhash Chandran.

They have also demanded to formulate a COVID-19 Management Protocol for addressing the serious concerns relating to imminent and extreme risks posed to the health and safety of health care workers in the national capital and to ensure that COVID-19 protection kits are made available to every single health care professional working in the corona isolation wards, or who work in close proximity of patients suspected to be infected with the virus.

The petitioner said that the staff was terminated when they demanded access to basic facilities like N-95 masks, sufficient numbers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), better working hours, drinking water, free COVID-19 tests, adequate quarantine facilities for healthcare staffers during COVID-19 duty.

According to the petition, despite the government order, the HIMSR terminated a large group of health care professionals only for raising legitimate concerns in the context of COVID-19.

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