Mumbai: Medical students working as interns and paramedics in hospitals fear they are at high risks as they have not been given special precautionary measures or leave during the coronavirus outbreak. The students are assisting doctors and catering to increasing patients visiting the hospitals daily for virus tests.
Students catering to patients at JJ Hospital, Nagpada, BYL Nair Ch Hospital, Mumbai Central and King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, Parel revealed they have been working in a high risk environment. Anwar Haziz, a student posted at JJ Hospital, said, “We work from 10am to 5pm as there are a large number of patients coming everyday. We have direct contact with patients complaining of symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat and headache. Most visit hospitals as they are scared and panicky.”
The students cannot take special preventive measures though they interact with numerous patients. Rani Iyer, a nursing student at KEM hospital, said, “Some of us have bought our own masks and hand sanitisers. There are many patients in the hospital and sanitisers get over quickly. Some have been given masks by our college.”
Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) authorities have directed all the medical and paramedical students to continue their postings and internships during this crucial time. Dr TP Lahane, the DMER Director, said, “Students have not been given any holidays. We have provided masks for all students and hand sanitisers at all medical colleges and hospitals.”
Students demanded the state should implement safety measures for them as they, too, are at high risks. Mandar Vibhute, an intern at Nair Hospital, said, “If the state government wants us to assist and help manage the workload then they should implement necessary safety measures. We are at risks because we are attending patients and their families without any preventive measures.”
In Bangalore, there is a shortage of masks and medical students have been asked to work extra hours to cater to patients coming for COVID-19 tests in hospitals.