A toll on medical healthcare professionals
On the impact of India’s medical professionals, he continued, “The toll this is taking on healthcare professionals is evident. We hear of a young doctor assigned to another hospital’s ICU who kills himself from the stress and pressure. Healthcare personnel are getting sick from the virus, both physically and mentally. There isn’t much hope. India had 40,000 ventilators for its 1.3 billion population at the start of the pandemic and one doctor per 1500 people.”
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) national registry registered 747 doctor Covid-19 related deaths, and the Trained Nurses Association of India has reported 90 nurse deaths. After being silent on the nation’s crisis for months, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has allowed medical doctors and nurses to join Covid-19 ICU’s without taking exams, which include around 3,000 students studying medical degrees. The decision came after cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty warned the nations next big challenge would be the shortage of doctors and nurses for patients.
He added, “It can be extremely hot in May, and even the fittest people find it difficult to work in Covid ICUs for 4/5 hours. Doctors who have been working since the first wave of the pandemic, are mentally fatigued, suffering burnouts and many amongst them are getting infected.”
In shocking statistics, Dr Shetty explained there is a demand for 80,000 ICU beds, and India only has 70,000 – 90,000 with most occupied alongside only 40,000 ventilators available for 1.3 billion of the population. Harrowing stories of the BJP party taking away an oxygen tank from the hospital to perform a photo-op for publicity whilst 20 people died, alongside beds and oxygen being stockpiled and reserved for ‘VIP’ patients have left healthcare professionals in outrage.