Coronavirus outbreak: 40 staffers of Bhabha Hospital quarantined

Updated: Apr 09, 2020, 07:59 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Action comes after death of a patient in the ICU, who later tested positive for COVID-19; employees of the hospital and of KEM protest against admin

The Bhabha Hospital nurses protesting on the premises
The Bhabha Hospital nurses protesting on the premises

After Wockhardt Hospital, Bandra's KB Bhabha Hospital, one of the civic body's isolation facilities, had to quarantine 40 of its nurses and doctors on Wednesday after a 36-year-old patient who died in the ICU on April 7 tested positive after death. Staff members of both Bandra Bhabha and KEM Hospitals levelled allegations of mismanagement against the administration and staged protests at both hospitals.

'No proper planning'
A 39-year-old nurse who works at Bhabha hospital alleged that there is no proper planning on how to deal with COVID-19 patients at the hospital. "The COVID-19 wards are on the fourth and eighth floor. The positive and suspected patients are kept together and they use the same bathroom. A 26-day-old baby who is a suspected case is kept with all the adults when there should be separate arrangements made for infants," said the nurse.

"A 36-year-old woman was admitted in the female general ward on April 4 at 10:40 am and she had complained of breathlessness. On April 5, she was shifted to the ICU and on April 6 her condition was critical. She was put on ventilator and died at 1 am on April 7. Later that day she tested positive for COVID-19. None of us are given Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and we are all exposed," she said, adding that her swab was collected and she along with the others are being quarantined at the hospital.

The nurse added that the hospital administration only provides protective suits to the COVID-19 ward staff and not to the rest of the staff. "When a patient comes in, we don't know if she/he is positive. At least the staff that deal with critical patients in the ICU should be given protective suits," she said. Around 200 staff members took part in the protest at Bandra Bhabha hospital on Wednesday.

Hospital speak
When contacted, Dr Pradeep Jadhav, medical superintendent of Bandra Bhabha hospital confirmed that 40 staffers who had come in contact with the patient have been quarantined at the hospital. "The patient had no history of international travel which is why we admitted her in the general ward. We have collected the swabs of the 40 staff members and will send them for testing on Thursday. We give PPE to all the nurses and doctors working in the COVID-19 wards," he said.

Another protest was staged at KEM Hospital where staff members raised similar concerns. In response, KEM Dean Dr Hemant Deshmukh refuted the allegations of insufficient PPE kits and said, "All the frontline workers in various shifts are given PPEs including cleaners and helpers since no one will work without them. They are all for one-time use only and everyone gets a fresh kit. We have sufficient PPEs and as the patients increase, our requirement will also increase accordingly," he said.

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