COVID-19 impact: Nurse ostracised in Malad building for 'bringing threat to doorstep'

Updated: 06 April, 2020 07:57 IST | Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

Sixty-eight Shatabdi Hospital nurses return to work after testing negative, but are wary of their future as hospital allegedly lacks protective equipment

The nurses had been quarantined after tests on a deceased patient returned positive
The nurses had been quarantined after tests on a deceased patient returned positive

Seventy-two hours of quarantine were tough on 68 nurses of Kandivli's Shatabdi Hospital, but it ended on a positive note as their test results came back negative. However, for one of them, the aftermath was shocking as well as disheartening.

At a time, when most people are thankful to the healthcare staff of the country as they are on the frontline of the battle against Coronavirus (COVID-19), a nurse from Malad faced stigma on returning home and was seen by her society as a threat.

The nurse, in her 40s, told mid-day, "We learnt that residents of my building have developed negative thoughts about me. Some even dared to ask, 'why are you bringing the threat of infection to our doorstep? Why don't you either take leave from work or stay at hospital till this pandemic ends'."

Narrating the ordeal further, she said that the past three days were not easy as the basic facilities at ESIC Hospital, where they were quarantined, were unavailable. "There were no clothes to change into. The food was really bad; once we were even given stale bread. Our family members arranged edible food for us. We spent two sleepless nights as we waited for our test reports." The municipality did not even provide transport to drop us home afterwards, she added.

The nurse said they were relieved when the results came negative because they feared to have exposed their family members to the virus. But their fear still hasn't vanished completely, because Chief Medical Officer Dr Pramod Nagarkar they returned to work on Sunday with very few protective gear to keep themselves safe.

"In the past few days we went through a lot, even learnt that many doctors have taken leave amid the crisis. We do want to work and help the patients, but what about our safety?

There are not enough masks, personal protective equipment [at the hospital]. By god's grace, we did not contract COVID-19 this time, but we don't know what might happen in the days to come."

Sixty-eight nurses Shatabdi Hospital were taken to ESIC Hospital in Kandivli on Wednesday night after the test result of a deceased patient came back positive.

No. of hours the nurses were quarantined

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First Published: 06 April, 2020 07:50 IST

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