Chandigarh PGI nursing staff fear for safety; demand safety gear

Chandigarh PGI nursing staff fear for safety; demand safety gear

Naina Mishra

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1

The recent case wherein 36 health workers at PGIMER were exposed to virus for treating covid patients sans safety gear has resulted in fear among the nursing staff of PGIMER as one among them today tested positive.

A nursing officer said, “The nursing staff kept on emphasising that the patient has symptoms of covid and some protective gear should be provided to them, but to no avail. Doctors are dealing from a distance and it is the nursing staff who are dealing with patients closely within one metre distance where aerosols remain.”

A letter written by the all nursing officer to Director, PGI, reads, “The patient was intubated by the health team, including a junior resident and nursing officer, without PPE, N95 mask as he was suffering from ARDS. On March 29, he was found positive. Due to this mistake, all staff of Emergency Medicine Ward – 22 has been exposed. There is a common washroom for EMW-22, EMW ortho and ortho OT. The covid patient had roamed in all these areas.”

“We have no time to ask for travel history from a patient who comes to the emergency gasping for air. Our role is to give immediate vital signs and by that time we get exposed. We are working in the same clothes we wear from our respective homes. We know that PPE cannot be provided to us and hence we have demanded N95 masks, disposal gowns, and head caps,” said a nursing officer.

The PGI Nurses Welfare Association has demanded PPE, N95 and Prophylaxis treatment to health workers working in ATC OPC, Emergency OPD, ES OPD, APC Emergency, CCU, Eye Emergency as workers have to attend covid patient in these areas.

Demand for respiratory illness and covid centre at PGI

Dr Uttam Thakur of PGIMER said, “We have demanded that at local level, patients coming with respiratory illness should be diagnosed at Nehru Extension centre. The patients may be Covid positive, high suspect, low suspect or with any respiratory illness.”

Dr Thakur added, “The guidelines may be changed when community spread will be proved. The medical fraternity is of the opinion that only complete lockdown can help check spread of the disease. There is a need for active testing along with lockdown. But there is limitation in testing facility. Many asymptomatic people will be infecting others as they will act as carrier.”

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