Srinagar: The medical fraternity in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir wants the immediate intervention of Lieutenant Governor (LG) Girish Chandra Murmu, to protect doctors from Covid-19 infection, as one doctor with his family has tested positive in Jammu. Medical Superintendent Dara Singh told this reporter that the doctor and his wife, who is also doctor, have been shifted to the isolation ward of GMC Jammu after they tested positive. The family members contracted the infection as the doctor was part of a sample collection team of the microbiology department of the hospital. The infection to the entire family is due to the fact that the protective gears to the doctors are not up to the mark and most of them feel vulnerable to the infection.
Doctors and paramedics in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir have been on the frontline to combat the Covid-19 threat. In SKIMS, the first positive case was being treated without proper protective gears. The first positive case, an aged woman of Srinagar, has walked back to her home after treatment. She tested negative after getting treatment round-the-clock at SKIMS.
“We have been appealing for proper protective gear, N95 masks etc, but not getting them. We are vulnerable, so are our families,” said Ali Muhammad Bhat (name changed), working in Srinagar’s Covid hospital of Dalgate. Many of the paramedics have been living under very stressful conditions as they have been away from their families since 18 March, when the UT administration decided to go for a lockdown as the first positive case surfaced here.
“We have been living a life of isolation. We are directly dealing with Covid patients and many of us have tested positive,” said one doctor who is a junior resident at Chest Disease Hospital, now designated as Covid hospital. Amid fears and apprehensions, the J&K administration recently decided to take action against all those doctors and paramedics who speak to the media and criticize officials.
Senior doctors have expressed their displeasure over the government directive that if the media reports about the fact that there are not enough personal protection gear and N95 masks for doctors, “strict action would be initiated against such doctors and paramedics who resort to such actions in the media”. This has angered the medical fraternity in Jammu and Kashmir and they have described the directive at attempts to hide the “failure’ to combat Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir. A senior officer was quoted by media as saying that, “Doctors are disobeying the rule and instead of doing actual work during this pandemic, they are airing their views liberally about minor issues. After the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir issued an order about booking doctors for such views, the Doctors Association Kashmir DAK wrote a letter to Advisor to L-G, Baseer Ahmad Khan, asking for proper and adequate personal protection gear, N95 masks, PVC coated gowns and goggles etc. The DAK urged him to intervene and provide the basic facilities to doctors and paramedics.” Dr Sameer Matto, Director Health Services Kashmir, did not respond to telephone calls by this reporter over this issue. Amid this confrontation, the Central government is trying to send the required equipment for doctors and paramedics in Jammu and Kashmir.