Toiling endlessly on the frontlines of the pandemic has exacted a heavy toll on doctors. Since the outbreak, 18 doctors across Maharashtra have died of coronavirus, 10 of whom were from Mumbai. Another 180 are undergoing treatment at various hospitals, while 1,500 are in quarantine centres, of whom 700 have returned to work across the state. Startling as these numbers seem, the medical fraternity claims the actual numbers are much higher and many of these deaths have gone unreported.
According to Dr Deepak Baid, president of the Association of Medical Consultants (AMC), doctors have been working day and night to cure Covid patients, resulting in most of them contracting the infection and some of them succumbing to it. Many have been quarantined at various centres across Maharashtra. “Currently, there is no data how many doctors have died across the state, as we know only of those which have been highlighted in the media or were doing the rounds on WhatsApp. It is also learnt many deaths have not been reported. All we can say is that 18 have died so far,” he said.
Dr Baid further said, there should be a committee set up to determine why frontline workers are getting infected, despite wearing PPE, masks and taking the necessary precautions. “We would request the government to form a special committee for frontline workers. This will help in knowing how many have contracted the infection and accordingly, treatment can be started,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has decided not to celebrate Doctor's Day (July 1) this year, but instead, observe ‘Atma-Sammaan Diwas’, in tribute to their brethren who died in the line of duty. “As a mark of respect to the doctors in Maharashtra who sacrificed their lives in the fight against Covid-19, IMA Maharashtra has decided not to ‘celebrate’ but ‘observe’ this auspicious day,” said Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president, IMA.
More than 180 doctors continue to be under treatment at various hospitals. “Substandard PPE kits and masks is one of the reasons doctors are getting infected,” he alleged. "The IMA will request the state government to felicitate the families of those doctors who succumbed to Covid, on Independence Day," Dr Bhondwe said.
Dr Shivkumar Utture, president of the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), said, “We have lost our best doctors in the fight against Covid-19 and even now, many doctors continue to be affected. We appeal to all doctors to focus more on reducing corona deaths.”