Coronavirus outbreak: Doctors run out of protective gear as cases increase

Updated: 27 March, 2020 07:29 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Barring the facilities at civic-run hospitals, Grant Medical College of JJ Hospital in Byculla and GT Hospital in Fort are all set to start their isolation facilities

This picture has been used for representation purpose
This picture has been used for representation purpose

With the growing number of cases of COVID-19 in the state, the demand for protective equipment which includes hazmat suits, masks, gloves among others has sharply increased in the past couple of weeks. While several doctors have complained about the shortage of equipment, hospitals like Grant Medical College are unable to start their isolation facilities without having adequate stock of equipment.

Barring the facilities at civic-run hospitals, Grant Medical College of JJ Hospital in Byculla and GT Hospital in Fort are all set to start their isolation facilities. While all the preparations are complete, they still need a 15-day supply of personal protective equipment for the staff.

Dr Pallavi Saple, dean of JJ hospital said that the hospitals need to have sufficient supply before starting admission of patients to ensure that they don't run out of suits. "They are disposable after every use and we will need around 30-50 suits per day. We have placed a request with Haffkine Institute and have ordered up to one lakh for JJ Hospital and GT hospitals," Saple said.

Dr Kalyani Dongre, advisory committee member of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, wrote to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday highlighting the shortage of protective equipment and of food and water for the doctors. "Five doctors at various hospitals including Kasturba Hospital have submitted their samples for testing as they fear they may be infected. Doctors are using one mask for 3-4 days due to the shortage," she said.

Dr Dongre said since canteens and mess services have been shut, doctors are not able to get food and she requested Thackeray to make provisions.

When contacted, Rajesh Tope, health minister, said he would look into the matter. "I will speak to the medical education department to arrange for the equipment and will ensure that the isolation facilities at JJ Hospital start at the earliest," he said.

While JJ Hospital has reserved 90 beds for COVID-19 patients who need to be isolated, GT Hospital has 270 beds. At JJ Hospital, apart from the 70 beds in the ward and 10 ICU beds for critical patients there are 10 single bed rooms for patients who have symptoms.

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First Published: 27 March, 2020 06:53 IST

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