Coronavirus outbreak: Hospital staff cry lack of PPE; admin threatens action

Updated: Apr 22, 2020, 07:16 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

Staff of Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma Hospital have been asking to be provided with adequate safety kits as they are treating COVID-19 patients

Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma Hospital in Jogeshwari East. File pic/Datta Kumbhar
Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma Hospital in Jogeshwari East. File pic/Datta Kumbhar

All is not well with the staff members of civic-run Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma Hospital in Jogeshwari. While the doctors and other medical staff have written a letter to the hospital dean citing a number of problems, including lack of safety kits, the administration in return has asked the staff to perform their duties or face disciplinary action.

The medical staff has been asking the hospital administration to provide them with adequate safety kits and protective equipment as the hospital has been treating COVID-19 patients. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a doctor told mid-day, "We are here to perform our duties. Even we want to be part of the team that is fighting to tackle the current situation. But, since doctors are facing shortage of safety kits, they are asking for better and more safety."

Another medical staff said that some of them were reluctant to perform their duties. "The only reason behind such kind of behaviour is shortage of protective kits and lack of safety," the staff added.

On April 4, the doctors had sent the grievance letter to the dean/medical superintendent of the hospital. However, three days later, the administration issued a warning through a notice saying that the medicos would face action if they failed to perform their duties. mid-day is in possession of the doctors' letter and the administration's notice as well.

"Despite repeated instructions, it has been observed that the resident medical officers (RMOs) are reluctant to perform their duties. To avoid work they cite reasons like lack of PPE kits and staff shortage. Even most of the RMOs don't report to duty on time. This behavior is completely irresponsible. This notice is given to all residents as a final warning to perform their duties judiciously. Failing this, they may have to face strict disciplinary action under Epidemic Act 1897," the letter issued by the administration states.

The administration's move has not gone down well with aggrieved doctors and has triggered further unrest. "Doctors were expecting the administration to fix the problems at the earliest. But, instead it has come out with a letter threatening the doctors," said another doctor.

When contacted, medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Vidya Mane denied the doctors and administration being at loggerheads. When asked about the doctors' letter and the administration's notice, Mane said, "I am in a meeting. Will talk on this issue later."

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