The burgeoning cases of coronavirus in Bengaluru is a cause of concern not only for public and city administration but also for hospitals around the city.
There have been numerous reports of not enough beds in the city hospitals for the rising number of COVID 19 patients. But apparently, this is not the only aspect of the problem. From the hospital and administration side, despite having isolated wards, ventilators and other medical equipment there aren't enough doctors and other paramedics to treat COVID-19 patients.
Shortage of medical staff at COVID-19 wards
Many senior doctors and hospital CEOs have come out to tell about the shortage of medical staff in the hospitals, especially in COVID-19 wards. They had been giving interviews, tweeting videos requesting doctors to come and join in treating coronavirus patients.
The recent request comes from Dr Jagadish Hiremath of Ace Suhas Hospital in Bengaluru.
Dr Hiremath is also one of the brains behind the low-cost ventilator that has been acquired by the Narendra Modi government using PM Fund.
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Dr Hiremath says that the biggest challenge he is facing in his hospital is a shortage of doctors and nursing staff, he told India Today.
Doctors' families fearful of them catching coronavirus
It's not that the hospital doesn't have permanent doctors and nurses. The reason, Dr Hiremath says, is that the medical staff and their families are too scared to let them continue working. He informed that lots of doctors' families are not willing to let their doctor relative tend to coronavirus patients.
Owing to this reason more than 50% of the doctors are on leave.
This is causing extra strain on the existing doctors and other medical staff who are now regularly working for 12 or more hours every day.
One might wonder that maybe the hospital administration is not providing assistance to medical staff and that could be the reason they are scared of joining the hospital. But according to Dr Hiremath, the hospital is not only providing insurance to the doctors but to their families as well.
He says the main reason for their fear is palpable panic surrounding the coronavirus. They are scared of catching the virus themselves. But Dr Hiremath says that it's not entirely correct.
Most of the people coming to the hospital are either testing negative or have mild symptoms. And with proper safety measure in place like quality PPE, medical devices, doctors would be able to treat coronavirus patients without risking themselves.
But most importantly, Dr Hiremath says, doctors need assurance and encouragement from the government.
Doctors need assurance from govt
"This group is almost like a focused targetted group for death. It's almost like soldiers going to war," Dr Hiremath said. Asking the government to provide assurance to doctors, he continued saying, "I am not expecting the government to give us money or anything. we want the government to put out information about the number of people per million (dying due to the infection)".
As the actual death rate of people dying due to coronavirus is low in comparison to other nations, Dr Hiremath believes that if such information is made public it would allay fears and medical and non-medical staff would feel encouraged to come to the hospital.