The Calcutta Medical College and Hospital is “facing an acute shortage of doctors” as many of them have tested positive for Covid-19, the principal has written to the health department, seeking posting of doctors from elsewhere.
The hospital — a Covid treatment centre that has resumed treating non-Covid patients, too — has 700 beds. An official at the hospital said the government wanted to add 100 more beds and if additional doctors were not sent, it would be difficult to augment the capacity immediately.
Manju Banerjee, the principal of the medical college, wrote in the letter sent to the director of health services on Tuesday: “Presently, 26 (twenty-six) post graduate trainees including 12 (twelve) faculty members have been tested (+ve) from Covid-19 and were either quarantined or undergoing treatment. As such, the Medical College, Kolkata is facing an acute shortage of doctors in Covid-19 pandemic outbreak with further enhancement of 100 (hundred) beds.”
A senior official of the hospital said 38 doctors, 26 postgraduate trainees and 12 teachers, were down with Covid.
When contacted by Metro on Tuesday evening, Banerjee said they were not facing any difficulty now but the letter had been sent apprehending problems if more people got infected. “Till now we are managing… but if 10 more doctors test positive, we will be in a difficult situation,” she said.
A doctor at the hospital said that he had seen several of his colleagues testing positive for Covid-19 and staying isolated before resuming duty. “We have accepted that each of us will get infected. That is how further infection among doctors in the hospital will stop,” said the doctor.
Doctors in other hospitals said that over 30 doctors testing positive for Covid-19 at a single hospital around the same time must ring alarm bells. “It could be that some doctors are not taking adequate precautions in the hospital or outside. It could also be that the quality of personal protective equipment (PPEs) is questionable,” said a doctor of another teaching hospital.
If a doctor in a Covid ward at Calcutta Medical College tests positive for the disease, his or her colleagues in the ward are not going into quarantine. “In the Covid ward, everyone wears PPE…. There is no point in going to quarantine,” an official said.
But if a doctor from a non-Covid ward tests positive, his or her close contacts are going into quarantine. “They are getting tested four or five days after the last contact with the infected person and resuming duty if the result is negative,” the official said.