After news of a COVID-19 patient’s death in the isolation ward of the Government Hospital here spread like forest fire on Tuesday, patients raised alarm when there was undue delay in removal of the body by staff.
Even as the patients were shocked to see the man breathing his last, the staff came after almost four to five hours to remove the body, which was painful and scary, they said.
The patient, identified as Alagarsamy of Karunanidhi Nagar here, was a journalist working in a Tamil daily, doctors said.
When reporters enquired with some of the duty doctors about the delay in clearing the body, they attributed it to staff shortage. With rising number of patients coming in every day, which crossed more than 300 and sometimes even more, the administration had not enhanced the staff strength.
In the present condition, many staff worked overtime as there was delay in arrival of their colleagues due to lockdown conditions. Moreover, many staff, who were working continuously without any weekly off for the last six months or so, experienced fatigue or had complaints of illness, the duty doctors claimed.
When the government announced a lockdown to ensure that people remained indoors, the situation at the Government Hospital was shocking. There was crowding everywhere. At the canteen, in isolation wards and at the drug counter. People came in large numbers and waited on the other side of the road to have a glimpse of the body of their kith and kin.
The doctors said t was a common scene at RM Colony, where cremation was being done almost for over 10 hours daily. The pollution levels near the crematorium had caused concern in the neighbourhood.
With over 21,000 patients having tested positive for COVID-19 in the district till May 17 according to the medical bulletin, and a little over 2,400 patients being identified as ‘active cases’, the new government should immediately take steps to recruit temporary staff at all levels and also post nurses and doctors, the duty doctors said requesting anonymity.
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