Despite repeated claims by the government of everything being hunky dory, DC found the reality at Gandhi Hospital does not match the hype
Hyderabad: The relentless pressure of caring for Covid-19 patients under conditions that are far below par is leaving Gandhi Hospital doctors despondent, depressed and with a feeling of helplessness at being ‘used’ to fight a battle for which the healthcare system is not prepared.
Despite repeated claims by the government of everything being hunky dory, Deccan Chronicle found that the reality at Gandhi Hospital does not match the hype.
The recent strike by post-graduate doctors following an attack by members of a family of a deceased patient, was as much as a result of a need for physical protection as it was a desperate cry for help.
The stress on the final year PG medicos has been such that it is not uncommon to find some of them staring blankly at the wall for long periods of time during their breaks. Or to see the young medical professionals sometimes trudge along with their shoulders drooping.
Even more galling for many of the doctors, it is learnt, are the homilies they receive from the authorities that they need to man up, grow a spine and take the tough conditions in their stride.
The authorities at the Gandhi Medical College and the health department ask the PGs to do as they did in the past, when they were students. This, it is learnt, has contributed to a large part in the PG doctors feeling helpless as they fear that they may not make the grade if the ‘instructions’ are not followed.
Inquiries by Deccan Chronicle revealed that many of the PG doctors are unhappy with the quality of the PPE kits. This puts them at a psychological disadvantage from the moment their shifts begin. Some of the things they point out are that PPE kits “are like they are made from old HDPE rice bags” that don’t fit properly and slipping zippers that leave them exposed.
The biggest challenge the PGs face, it was learnt, relates to the serious staff shortage, especially of hospital workers at the level where most interactions with the patients take place.
This problem arises from the well-established practice in government-run hospitals of allowing one or two members of a patient’s family to take care of their needs. Because of the highly infectious nature of the Coronavirus, no attendants are being allowed now. And there has been no addition to the ward boy strength from the existing three or four per shift.
This, along with the shortage of staff nurses, has made immediate patient care a casualty, leading to an increasing feeling of guilt among the PG doctors every time a patient succumbs. Most of the fatalities are occurring because of these circumstances coupled with what was revealed as a “rapid degeneration of patient health” within 24 hours after admission.
With no time to acclimatise to the hospital environment, patients are reluctant to accept urinary catheters or bed pans. Several patients choose to visit the toilets and the strain they put on their hearts when trying to relieve themselves is contributing to the fatalities, it is learnt.