10 doctors among around 40 healthcare workers moved to quarantine

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Srinagar: Around forty healthcare workers including ten doctors have been moved to quarantine in LD and super-specialty hospitals here on Saturday.
Reports said two doctors and 8 other healthcare workers at the Lal Ded (LD) Hospital, Kashmir’s only tertiary care maternity facility, have been quarantined after a pregnant woman who was referred there allegedly in violation of norms tested positive for novel coronavirus.
The woman who hails from the Covid-19 “red zone” area of Trehwani, Achabal, was refused treatment at Maternity Hospital Sheerbagh Anantnag and referred to SKIMS Bemina after she arrived there on Friday evening.
“She has also turned away from SKIMS Bemina and referred to LD Hospital for treatment,” the sources said.
Fearing she might be refused treatment for the third time, the woman’s attendants hid her two previous referrals and the fact that she hailed from a red zone area of Anantnag.
“Being asymptomatic, she was admitted to the hospital around 3:00 am on Saturday and had a normal delivery in the afternoon. However, we were taken aback when health officials from Achabal informed us that she had tested positive for coronavirus,” a doctor at the LD Hospital told a local news agency.
According to guidelines, pregnant women in all red zones are to be screened for coronavirus and “samples to be taken beyond 34 weeks of gestation/well before the expected date of delivery (EDD) so that the delivery of such pregnant ladies can be conducted in a safe manner.”
“This is sheer negligence on part of Maternity Hospital Sheerbagh and SKIMS Bemina as they have put at risk staff members and patients at the Valley’s only tertiary care hospital. So far, we have quarantined 10 of our staff members including two doctors,” a senior official of LD Hospital said.
Meanwhile, a plastic surgery, admitted from the last seven days, in super-specialty hospital at Shreenbagh here, has tested positive for novel coronavirus, creating unease among doctors and other healthcare workers.
The doctors fear that the hospital might have to be shut in worst-case scenario and blame administration for what some of them described as a ‘blunder’.
Official sources told the news agency that a 55-year-old patient admitted to the hospital a week ago was to be operated upon on Thursday last. However, the surgery was delayed as her test for COVID-19 was awaited.
“The report was received on Friday and it came out to be positive,” a doctor told the news agency.
“We have already conducted two surgeries and they along with at least 12 other patients share the same ward as that of the now COVID-19 patient,” the doctor, wishing not to be named, said.
“The two patients whose surgery was done four days ago tested negative after their samples were taken two days prior to their surgery. We never know as they could have contracted the disease also as they spend at least two days with the patient when their surgery was ultimately done,” the doctor said, adding, “operation theatre is the most vulnerable place as a lot of aerosols is generated. It is beyond cough etc. Our operation theatres don’t even have negative pressure or scavenging systems.”
The patient was actually shifted from SMHS hospital where she was admitted for a few days also, sources said.
“Why are patients not screened for COVID-19 prior to their arrival or referral to the tertiary care hospital which is meant for non-COVID patients?” the doctor questioned. “The patients admitted to the particular ward are already vulnerable and it adds to their risk.”
On Saturday, the authorities took samples of all the fourteen patients in the ward for novel coronavirus while around thirty healthcare workers including at least eight doctors besides nurses and dressers were shifted to either administrative or home quarantine.
“We were not provided personal protective equipments despite our asking all these days and now that a patient has tested positive, PPEs have been distributed among a few. Earlier we were given four masks and were asked to run them for a month,” another doctor told Global News Service.
“The Coronavirus infection is increasingly spreading among healthcare professionals and forcing them to go in quarantine. This has led to a shortage of doctors and other healthcare workers. It is also discouraging many others to lead from the front as they are concerned about their own lives and well-being,” the doctor said.
He said that in case anyone among the 14 patients tested positive, there could be “more problems.”
The super-specialty hospital Shreenbagh provides facilities such as neurology, neurosurgery, gastroenterology, oncology and many others.
“This is fully functional hospitals and would cater to the needs of hundreds of patients. There are chances now that we may lose an entire hospital to the administrative blunder,” he added.
Medical Superintendent Dr Shabir Ahmad confirmed that eight doctors were among health workers shifted to quarantine. “All precautions have been taken,” he said. (With Inputs from GNS)

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