80 per cent of private practice doctors contracted COVID-19

Updated: 10 August, 2020 08:15 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

A survey by Association of Medical Consultants reveals doctors who weren't on COVID-19 duty contracted the virus while seeing patients at private clinics and hospitals between May and June

A doctor conducts a swab test on a photojournalist in Bandra. File pic/Shadab Khan
A doctor conducts a swab test on a photojournalist in Bandra. File pic/Shadab Khan

A survey has revealed that 80 per cent of doctors practising in private clinics and hospitals have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus. The Association of Medical Consultants (AMCO) examined over 150 doctors, who were not enrolled by the state government on COVID-19 duty, for the study.

More than 1,200 specialist doctors are enrolled with the AMC and attend to nearly 90 per cent of the hospitalised cases in the city, the AMC told mid-day. Of them, 176 doctors in the age group of 24 to 72 participated in the survey.

The participants included 119 male doctors and 57 female doctors, and 29 are in the 20-35 age group, 70 in the 36-50 age group, 54 doctors are aged between 51 and 60, and 23 are above 60 years.

Dr Deepak Baid, president, Association of Medical Consultants
Dr Deepak Baid, president, Association of Medical Consultants

Among the 176 doctors, at least 137 had taken BCG vaccine (used against tuberculosis) and MMR vaccine (used against measles, mumps and rubella) in childhood, but the vaccinations were not protective against COVID-19.

Majority of the participants had fever, cough, body ache and weakness, and around 17 per cent of them complained of breathlessness. No specific blood group proved to be at high risk of infection.

The source of infection was not known in 66 per cent of the cases. But, 30 per cent of the participating doctors said patients and relatives did not wear masks during their appointments, and could be the probable reason. Prolonged exposure to visiting patients was also mentioned as a possible reason by 31 per cent of the doctors.

All the infected doctors — 80 per cent [141 doctors] — who contracted the virus were seeing non-COVID-19 patients in their private clinics, or hospitals.

Majority of the participating doctors were on prophylaxis treatment, and 76 per cent had taken hydroxychloroquine but still contracted the virus. Most of them were found to have been infected between May and June. Around 11 per cent needed intensive care.

"This highlights that the COVID-19 death cover of '50 lakh, provided to the healthcare workers by the government, does not cover the most susceptible section of medics," said AMC President Dr Deepak Baid.

The average cost of admission for one hospitalised patient was around R1.75 lakh, but 83 per cent of doctors had insurance. While 80 doctors are willing to donate plasma, 70 are undecided and 17 said they won't do it.

176
No. of doctors who participated in the survey

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First Published: 10 August, 2020 07:30 IST

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