A video of a doctor at a Bengaluru hospital appealing to other doctors and nurses to join the fight against the coronavirus went viral on Sunday, News18 reported. In the video, Dr Taha Mateen, MD at HBS Hospital in the city, spoke about the ordeal of doctors and nurses who work 18 hours a day. He said that while there are enough ventilators, oxygen cylinders and beds at the hospital, there are fewer doctors.
“Patients are continuously calling me, because their fathers are breathless, their daughters are breathless, their brothers are breathless, and they cannot find a [hospital] room in Bangalore,” he said in the video. “And at this time, you see me, there is one Mr Shiva here...and there is no other doctor willing to come and work in this hospital at this time.” Mateen said he had 30 more beds and all equipment, but all the doctors are “on WhatsApp”, instead of the hospital.
Mateen appealed to doctors to work at the hospital six hours per day. “Sometimes, the Army is at the frontline...sometimes the police is at the frontline, right now, you and I, my fellow doctors are on the frontline,” he said. “Let us show that we care for humanity here...”
The hospital, which had 44 doctors and 20 nurses on its staff, is left with just five doctors and 12 nurses, and the others have stayed home citing a variety of reasons, The Times of India reported. Mateen said the absentee doctors have come up with reasons such as headaches and co-morbid conditions to stay home, but some actually have fever.
The doctor told the newspaper that his hospital has 80 beds, but cannot admit coronavirus patients due to a lack of staff. The hospital has eight patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection, and their Covid-19 test results are yet to come. Six patients are in the intensive care unit. Mateen said the staff had to send a patient, who had low levels of oxygen saturation, home with an oxygen cylinder.
Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association President Dr R Ravindra said all private hospitals are facing a shortage of medical personnel. “The issue has been brought to the notice of the government during our meeting with the deputy chief minister,” Ravindra said.
The total number of cases in Bengaluru stood at 9,580 on Sunday night, with a record jump of 1,235 cases in a single day. The toll in the city is 145.