Coronavirus in Mumbai: Hospital staff work in fear amidst lack of PPE kits

Vikas NagUpdated: Friday, April 10, 2020, 02:29 AM IST
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Mumbai: Hospital staff refused to touch the body of a woman, who was admitted to a bed of the Intensive Care unit at MT Agarwal hospital, as it was not clear whether she was a CoVID-19 patient. Her test report was yet to arrive and her body was kept at the hospital for more than 12 hours. Without Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the hospital staff, from the fear of contracting the virus, did not come forward to wrap the body for the last rites.

The woman died last night. However, due to non-availability of PPE kits in the hospital, the staff refused to touch the body. It was only when the hospital arranged for a kit that the body was wrapped for the last rights.

On Monday, a 19- year-old girl tested positive at the hospital, after which she was shifted to Rajawadi hospital. The ward in which the girl was admitted had been vacated and was being fumigated. However, after the death of the woman in the ICU, the fumigation work was stopped and the ward was set up as a quarantine ward.

"There was a miscommunication that the lady who died in the ICU on Wednesday was a CoVID-19 patient. The staff feared coming in contact with the body. Actually, a girl on Sunday was admitted to the general ward. After we came to know that she had tested positive, she was shifted to Rajawadi hospital. We have the PPE kits, but there is a shortage and we need more numbers of kits," said Dr Pradip Angre, dean, MT Agarwal hospital.

Due to the increase in the number of positive cases, hospital staff are hesitant to continue work without PPE kits. "We fear that if we work without safety gears, we will contract the virus. We are not given PPE kits and are asked to work in wards with positive patients. The body of the woman, who died last night, was kept for more than 12 hours in the ICU. Later, only one kit was given to a sweeper, who was asked to wrap her body. However, it is not confirmed that she was infected with the virus," said a staff of the hospital on the request of anonymity.

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