Nurses attending to COVID-19 patient told to go home, undergo self-quarantine since they are at 'low risk', says NEIGRIHMS acting director Dr P Bhattacharya
Shillong: The North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) made headlines after the Trained Nurses’ Association condemned the administration for sending the nurses home event after attending to a COVID-19 patient at the hospital.
Over nine nurses left in a dilemma on Wednesday not wanting to go back home and worrying that they may be a carrier of the virus. They had earlier demanded for institutional quarantine.
While speaking with EastMojo, NEIGRIHMS acting director Dr P Bhattacharya said that the COVID-19 positive patient at NEIGRIHMS was a low-risk carrier of the virus. Except those who carried out the delivery were assessed as high risk and were all sent to quarantine. But the others who had at the time of admission of the patient came without signs and symptoms are not at high risk, the acting director said.
Dr Bhattacharya added that whenever high-risk procedures are to be done full PPE has to be put on. People who do these high-risk procedures repeatedly are kept under quarantine. “We try to take a safer approach, if you have done a high risk procedure, even with a PPE on, we are asking them to be on quarantine; however, the ministry does not suggest that. Everybody does not need a PPE for everything, wearing PPE while attending to a patient is a waste of resources,” said Dr Bhattacharya.
Meanwhile, the grievances of the nurses caught the attention of a local organisation, ‘Ka Sur U Paidbah’ (Voice of the People). Egenstar Kurkalang, a member of the organisation, has condemned the administration's move and how the nurses were neglected.
“After hearing the grievances of the nurses, we decided to meet the director. He has now assured that within one week all process will be completed to arrange rooms. At the moment work is under progress to fix the water, electricity and several other necessities. He said 55 rooms will be allotted in the nursing college which will be used as a quarantine centre for the nurses who are on duty in the COVID areas,” said Kurkalang.
Meanwhile, Dr Bhattacharya mentioned that even the nurses had demanded for institutional quarantine before; he has already worked upon getting the hostel ready.
“As a COVID duty, even though with lack of labourers, I had spoken to the in-charge of getting the rooms ready. On day 1 itself, I have looked into this. And we have been assured that by Saturday 55 rooms will be handed over to su. Electricity connection has been done, sewer line has been set up and water connection is also done. We have also placed order for furniture. Mattresses are already in place but there may be complaints that they are made to sleep on the floor. So we will get everything properly set up,” said Dr Bhattacharya.
He added that people entitled to stay in this nursing hostel are those who are in the category of eligibility as per the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
Speaking with EastMojo, a nursing officer said that the hospital did not give any assurance to provide them institutional quarantine.
“We are the batch from June 12 to 17, who have been exposed to the COVID-19 patient admitted in the hospital. We were in our PPE while tending to the patient. But before joining we had asked the administration and had written a letter demanding for a quarantine centre but no assurance was given that we will be given a quarantine centre after our duties. Yet we continued with our work and we completed our duty this morning. Rapid test was done and we were tested negative; we are free to go home,” added the nursing officer.