Scenes at Jawahar Lal Medical college, Bhagalpur
Scenes at Jawahar Lal Medical college, Bhagalpur

With the number of cases of the novel coronavirus, COVIC-19 sharply increasing every day, life is getting more difficult for the medical fraternity, some of whom feel that there isn’t enough manpower to deal with the number of cases rising every day.

Add to their woes is the lack of protective gear. In the past week, doctors from Rohtak in Haryana and Tamil Nadu have raised their concern to the lack of protective gear that can compromise their safety while working with COVID-19-infected patients.

Now, interns at three of Bihar’s hospitals that have been equipped to tackle the disease have raised questions about the Nitish Kumar-led government’s poor management of the system.

In a strongly worded letter, which Free Press Journal has access to, the students have highlited the issues they have faced, and even requested the authorities to take prompt action

The letter shared by student in Bhangalpur
The letter shared by student in Bhangalpur

The doctors of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Bhagalpur were denied N95 masks & PPEs in Emergency duties by Dr. RC Mandal who later forced the interns to work amidst the same conditions. When the interns denied, he threatened to terminate their internship or extend the duration of their internship. These doctors don't even have sanitizers or gloves. They are buying on their own. Frequently they are coming in contact with at least 8-10 suspected COVID patients. Annexed is the a) demand application by the interns b) notice issued by the Superintendent, JLNMCH and c) the guidelines issued by MOH&FW that it violates.

Scenes from Jawahar Lal Medical College. Junior doctors have said that they are forced to use surgical masks as the hospital authorities have failed to provide them N-95 masks
Scenes from Jawahar Lal Medical College. Junior doctors have said that they are forced to use surgical masks as the hospital authorities have failed to provide them N-95 masks

One of the interns under condition of anonymity said that the authorities were not providing them with N-95 face masks or hand sanitisers. “If we ask for masks, then we are provided with surgical masks that can’t help us when we work with COVID-19 patients,” the source added.

Meanwhile, the letter even added that COVID-19-infected patients were asked to go home to self-isolate, but refused to do so because of the lack of education. If you see the pictures shared by the sources, there are people lying in empty hallways hoping to get a room, even as the interns.

Currently, nine government colleges, which include Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College, Patna Medical College, and Indira Gandhi Medical College that are sample collection centres for COVID-19 patients. The samples collected at these places are sent to Rajendra Memorial Research Institute Patna and from there the reports are prepared for all of Bihar.

The source added that despite several complaints, nobody is ready to listen to their complaints, and they chose to stay anonymous, fearing how the administration would deal with them.

Currently, Bihar has reported six COVID-19-infected patients, but this number could be far greater given the lack of medical facilities and the great risk the junior doctors and interns are enduring while tackling COVID-19-suspect patients.

“If one of us gets infected, then it’s a whole exercise gone to waste, and it could be a larger problem in our state, and eventually the nation,” the source said.

Another source told the Free Press Journal that the situation was quite similar in Patna as well. She alleged that a friend that works in one of the hospitals told her that have been chosen to take care of COVID-19 patents not only has proper equipment, but also does not have a proper isolation ward. "As a result, COVID-19 patients are in close proximity to other patients," she claimed.

Notably, Bihar is the third state to report lack of facilities or poor management by senior hospital staff. On Thursday, students at Rohtak College in Haryana shared a video highlighting how they were forced to attend lectures despite the lockdown. Another report also highlighted how Tamil Nadu doctors were handling the situation.

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Free Press Journal