Indian medical students feel betrayed

New Delhi (AP) —Since the beginning of the week, Dr. Siddharstara, a graduate medical student at the Hindu Lao Hospital run by the government of New Delhi, has had a fever and persistent headache. He underwent a COVID-19 test, but the results have been delayed due to the collapse of the national health system.

His hospital is overloaded and understaffed and wants him to continue working until the laboratory confirms that he is infected with COVID-19.

On Tuesday, India reported 323,144 new infections, second only to the United States, with a total of more than 17.6 million. The Indian Ministry of Health also reported that an additional 2,771 people have died in the last 24 hours and 115 Indians have died of the disease every hour.Experts say them The numbers are probably underestimated.

“I can’t breathe. In fact, I’m more symptomatic than the patient. So how can I get it to work?” Tara asked.

The challenges facing India today are exacerbated by the vulnerabilities of its healthcare system and physicians, as incidents occur earlier than anywhere else in the world.

There are 541 medical colleges in India and 36,000 graduate medical students. According to the doctors’ union, every public hospital has a majority. These are COVID-19 compliant breakwaters in India. But for over a year, they have been exposed to huge workloads, wage shortages, rampant exposure to the virus, and complete academic negligence.

“We are cannon feed, that’s it,” Tara said.

In the five states most affected by the surge, graduate doctors protested the apathy of managers towards students like them, who urged authorities to prepare for the second wave but were ignored.

Jignesh Gengadiya, a 26-year-old graduate medical student, knew that she was working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week when she applied for a residency at the Government Medical College in Surat, Gujarat. What he did not expect was that he was the only doctor to treat 60 patients under normal circumstances, with 20 patients working in the intensive care unit.

“ICU patients need to be careful at all times. Who will you handle if more than one patient begins to fall?” Jengadiya asked.

The Hindu Lao Hospital, where Tara works, provides a snapshot of the country’s dire situation. According to Tara, the number of beds for virus patients has increased, but the amount of work has quadrupled without hiring additional doctors. To make matters worse, senior doctors refuse to treat patients with the virus.

“I think senior doctors are older and more susceptible to the virus, but as we saw in this wave, the virus affects young and old alike,” he says, suffering from asthma. Tara, who is fulfilling the obligations of a typical COVID-19, said.

During the surge, hospitals went from zero to 200 beds for virus patients. Previously, two doctors took care of 15 beds, but now they handle 60 beds.

The number of staff is also declining as students are positive at an alarming rate. Nearly 75% of graduate medical students in the surgery department were virus-positive last month, said a student in the department who spoke anonymously for fear of retaliation.

Tara, a member of the Hindulao Graduate Medical Association, said students would receive their monthly wages two months late. After a hunger strike in the midst of a pandemic last year, students were given a four-month pending wage.

Dr. Rakeshdogura, a senior Hindu expert, said it is inevitable that graduate students will bear the brunt of coronavirus treatment. But he emphasized that graduate students have different roles in treating patients and being supervised by senior doctors.

Hindu Lao did not hire additional doctors during the second wave, but Dogra said doctors from a nearby municipal hospital were temporarily stationed there to support the increased workload. ..

India, which spends 1.3% of its GDP on healthcare, is less than all major economies, but was initially seen as a success story to survive a pandemic. However, in the months that followed, few arrangements were made.

A year later, Dr. Subaru Nasarker says she feels betrayed by her hospital in Pune being completely surprised.

“Why didn’t more people get hired? Why didn’t the infrastructure get stronger? It’s like learning nothing from the first wave,” she said.

Lately, the Susoon Hospital administration said it would hire 66 doctors to strengthen its capacity last Wednesday, increasing its COVID-19 beds from 525 to 700 this month.

However, according to Dr. Murlidhar Tambe, the dean of the hospital, only 11 new doctors have been hired so far.

“It’s just that the number of doctors isn’t increasing,” said Tambe, adding that they too are having a hard time finding new technicians and nurses.

In response to last year’s surge, the hospital hired 200 nurses on a contract basis, but fired them in October after the cases receded. According to Tambe, the deal allowed the hospital to terminate what it thought was appropriate.

“Our main responsibility is with the patient, not the staff,” said the dean.

Cases in Pune almost doubled from 5,741 to 10,193 last month. Authorities have promised more beds to deal with the surge.

Sirker, a medical student at Sasun Hospital, says that’s not enough.

“The unpowered increased bed is just a bed. It’s a smoke screen,” she said.

To deal with the Flood, Susoon students said authorities had weakened rules intended to keep them and their patients safe. For example, a student works with a COVID-19 patient for a week and then works directly with a patient in a general ward.

This increases the risk of spreading the infection, said Dr. T. Sundara Raman of the National Medical Systems Resource Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Students want the Sasun administration to establish a compulsory quarantine period between their COVID-19 mission and the general ward.

Last month, 80 of the 450 graduate students in the hospital were positive, but there are only up to 7 days of convalescent leave.

“COVIDs ruin your immunity, so some people are testing positive a couple of times because their immunity is shot just like that and they aren’t allowed to recover. “I will,” said Sarkar.

And after processing the COVID-19 test for a year, she says she knows everything she needs to know about the virus, but little else. Nationally, diversion of graduate students to the care of virus patients is at a cost.

At a public medical university in Surat, students said they had never received an academic lecture. The hospital has been accepting virus patients since March last year, and graduate medical students spend most of their time caring for them. The city currently reports more than 2,000 cases and 22 deaths daily.

Having to focus very much on the pandemic made many medical students worried about their future.

Students studying to become surgeons don’t know how to get rid of the appendix, lung specialists didn’t learn the first thing about lung cancer, and biochemists spend all their time on PCR tests. I have.

“What kind of doctor will be born in the past year?” Said Dr. Shrada Subrahmanyan, a resident doctor of surgery at Susoon Hospital.


The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

Posted on