Another staffer contracts TB at Nair Hospital

Oct 16, 2013, 06:32 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

A doctor from the psychiatry department was diagnosed with the disease on Monday; resident doctors say they're vulnerable due to poor living conditions and long hours

Yet another staff member of the civic-run Nair Hospital has been diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB). On Monday, a 27-year-old resident doctor from the psychiatry department tested positive for tuberculosis. This, after two nursing students from the hospital tested positive for the air-borne disease barely two months ago.

Earlier this year, two more resident doctors from the Mumbai Central hospital had contracted TB, apart from the nursing students.

Nair Hospital
Boxed in: The cramped living quarters provided to residents, ideally suited for two people, is currently occupied by a minimum of four doctors

With the recent detection, the total number of staff members who have gotten the disease is five.

A doctor from the hospital, who chose to remain anonymous, said, “The doctor, who is a third-year student, had symptoms similar to TB, after which his sputum samples were sent for testing. The results unfortunately were positive. He is currently undergoing treatment in the hospital itself.”

Residents blame the long working hours and the deplorable accommodation provided to them by authorities. “There is an acute space crunch in the hostels. The rooms are overcrowded, with five to six doctors living in one small room. Poor ventilation coupled with long working hours makes us even more vulnerable to the disease, as we treat TB patients on a daily basis,” complained a resident.

However, Dr S Das, the deputy dean of Nair Hospital denied that there was a space problem in the hospital. “There are enough rooms allocated to the doctors and they are provided with enough space in their hostels,” he clarified.

When this reporter visited the hostel premises, at least four people were living in a room ideally meant for two people.

Tuberculosis has been affecting resident doctors at other hospitals in the city as well. Two doctors from KEM Hospital, Parel suffered from TB this year. Last year, MiD DAY had reported that 15 doctors from the civic-run Sion Hospital had contracted TB.

After 23-year-old Samidha Khandare, an intern at Sion Hospital, succumbed to multi-drug resistant TB in June this year, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) had demanded better living conditions in the hostels.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had promised to provide a protein-rich breakfast in civic-run hospitals to build up immunity, after many resident doctors were falling ill.

A MARD member added, “A total of 23 resident doctors in the city have had TB since November last year. The civic body may be planning to provide a healthy, protein-rich breakfast, but most of us don’t even have the time to eat, because of tiring schedule.” 

Number of resident doctors in the city diagnosed with TB since November last year

Number of staff members in Nair Hospital who have been diagnosed with TB 

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