COVID-19 in Mumbai: Top hospital nurses demand test after doctor tests positive

Updated: Apr 17, 2020, 07:41 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Four doctors test positive for COVID-19 at the Bombay Hospital; nurses claim the management refuses to get them tested

At least four doctors have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus at the Bombay Hospital. FIle pic
At least four doctors have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus at the Bombay Hospital. FIle pic

Nurses at the Bombay Hospital have claimed that though at least four doctors there have tested positive, the management refuses to get them tested. The nurses have alleged that instead of testing them or placing them in quarantine, the management insists that they continue to work.

A nurse who works in the operation theatre said that several doctors from the general surgery, anaesthesiology and radiology departments have tested positive. "These doctors visit the patients only for a few hours while we spend eight hours with them. We requested the management to test us since around 100 of us live in the hostel together, and many of us have symptoms. But the hospital is not willing to test us. They are not thinking about our safety," she said.

'Take medicines, work'

The nurse added that a group of them met the hospital management on Wednesday and threatened to go on strike if they are not tested. "The hospital says that they will divide us in groups based on primary or secondary contact and is only screening us (just taking their temperatures).

Around 4-5 nurses have been tested but many of us who have symptoms are not being tested. They are not testing (not taking samples) us. They are asking nurses who have symptoms to take hydroxychloroquine (anti-malaria drug) tablets and continue work. The doctors we work with are advising us not to do that since it can cause damage to our hearts," she said, adding that all staff members in the casualty department have been given hydrochloroquine and some have taken it as well. While there are 15 nurses who work in the operation theatres at the hospital, more than 100 nurses live in the hostel.

'Management following guidelines'

Earlier this week, a junior radiologist tested positive after which three other doctors at the hospital also tested positive. While Dr RK Choudhary, the medical superintendent of Bombay Hospital wasn't available for a comment, Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician with the Bombay Hospital confirmed that a total of four doctors including a general surgeon, anaesthesiologist and a junior surgeon tested positive.

Refuting the allegations of the nurses, he said, "We have screened and tested 120 staff members who are symptomatic. The management is following all the guidelines and is looking after the staff well."

The four doctors who tested positive have been admitted at Bombay Hospital. Dr Bhansali said that they are all asymptomatic and multivitamins are the only medication given to them. Over the past couple of weeks, several nurses at Wockhardt Hospital, Bhatia Hospital and Breach Candy Hospital have tested positive after they came into direct or indirect contact with a COVID-19 patient.

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