Coronavirus: Medical staff at Patiala hospital protest against lack of safety equipment

'Personal Protective Equipment kits faulty'

Karam Prakash
Tribune News Service
Patiala, March 31 

Nurses and paramedical staff at the Government Rajindra Hospital in Patiala on Tuesday protested against the authorities for allegedly failing to provide safety gear meant for treating coronavirus patients.

The nurses also had held a protest on Monday night, at around 11 pm, outside the office of the Medical Superintendent. The nurses said that the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits were faulty and they were being provided just to the staff in isolation wards. However, the staff in the emergency department are the first ones to encounter patients, said the protesters.

They said that authorities were not showing any concern for the safety of the staff who had to come into the direct physical contact with the patients.

A 42-year-old Ludhiana resident, who had positive for coronavirus, died in the hospital on Monday. She had been in the ward for 12 hours, leading to a scare among the nurses.

Randeep Kaur, a staff nurse, who is posted in the isolation ward, said, “I was handling the covid positive patient—the entire night before she died. PPE kits, provided by the hospital, do not cover the entire body which exposes us to the virus. The authorities are compromising the lives of nurses – the backbone of the health system.”

Nurses say that PPE kits are being provided only to the nurses of the isolation ward, while the doctors and staff nurses who have to examine the suspected patients — before they are sent to the isolation wards — are without PPE.

Sandeep Kaur Barnala, staff nurse union leader, said, “The authorities are not providing nurses and doctors the safety gear which has created a fear among us.”

Barnala demanded that every doctor and other staff, who examine suspected COVID-19 patients, should be provided with PPE kits.

Hospital authorities had earlier said kits would be provided to the staff at the isolation ward only in line with the guidelines of the government of India.

Dr Paras Pandove, medical superintendent, Rajindra hospital, said, “We have already asked them to get quarantined at the hospital itself. They were being provided everything as per the COVID-19 guidelines. PPE Kits are provided to staff at the isolation ward only.”

In the meanwhile, DK Tiwari, Medical Education Secretary, said that he had a word with the hospital authorities and matter has been already resolved.  

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