MEDICAL BARRIERS UP AT AUNDH CIVIL HOSPITAL
COVID-19 patients protest lack of physical examination before being prescribed medications, say only nursing staff enter their ward, not doctors; district civil surgeon refutes any such trend
In a disheartening indicator of the state of medical affairs amid a pandemic that is not yet finished, a few COVID-positive patients currently admitted at the Aundh Civil Hospital have rued that the doctors supposedly treating them at this facility do not even come to their wards for physical examination, before prescribing medication.
According to these invalids, they have to — in their state — walk up to a window of the ward, where the doctors stand on the other side and dole out medical advice.
In the more serious cases, when patients cannot even walk, the doctors allegedly just get their information from nursing staff deployed at that ward. Then, based on that secondhand description, they prescribe a further line of treatment to staffers, the patients claimed.
One such positive person, who is admitted to this facility at present, shared with Mirror on condition of anonymity, “I have been here for the last one week and I only ever saw nursing staff visiting the ward.
Initially, when I saw the nursing staff in the personal protective equipment (PPE) suits, I just assumed that they were the treating doctors. Soon enough, I was shocked when the same nursing staff took me to a window of the ward, where the actual doctor was just standing on the other side and asked me certain questions from a distance only. Without even carrying out a physical examination, I was then prescribed certain medicines.”
The first case of COVID-19 came to Pune in the month of March last year, after which the entire health machinery swung into action. With the disease being completely new for the entire world, doctors here were also not aware of what treatment is effective, but protocols and lines of the treatment were regularly being shared by the Union health ministry in ensuing months. Over a period of time, doctors also gained some experience of treating COVID patients.
And yet, the condition at Aundh Civil Hospital indicates that even today, the outbreak still witnesses a major disconnect between the hands that heal and the persons who need them the most.
Another patient of this facility told Mirror, “It has been nearly 10 months that the entire health department has been treating COVID-19 patients now. Till date, one would have expected that the fear and panic of virus transmission if proper care is taken would have vanished from the minds of health practitioners. But what we are experiencing shows completely the opposite. These doctors are reluctant to even come inside the ward to examine us! If the doctors are so fearful, how will they transmit positivity and hope among their patients?”
When Mirror reached out to some doctors who have been serving at varied government hospitals in the course of the pandemic, they were clear that it is entirely necessary for doctors to carry out a physical examination of patients in such conditions. Preferring to stay unnamed, a senior doctor who has been working with COVID patients since July 2020 informed, “Doctors should not be totally dependent on medical reports to treat patients. Often, reports show abnormalities but physical symptoms determine whether an aggressive line of treatment is needed or not. The experience of a doctor in physical examination proves very important in terms of taking some delicate medical decisions.”
Finally, when contacted about this trend, district civil surgeon Dr Ashok Nandapurkar, who is in charge of the said hospital, refuted, “It is not true. Our doctors are going into wards and treating patients. However, if some patients have raised such an issue, I will look into it and verify it with the staff.”