Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Wednesday issued a ‘red alert’ for medicos and medical administrators involved in coronavirus containment efforts and asked them to raise their guard while announcing that a total of 99 doctors have succumbed to COVID-19 so far.
Among those infected are 586 practising doctors, 566 resident doctors and 150 house surgeons, according to a national COVID registry set up by IMA.
Of the doctors who died, 73 were above 50 years while 19 were in the 35-50 age group. Seven were under 35.
“IMA declares red alert to doctors and medical administrators to raise their guard. If COVID-19 mortality has to be lessened, it has to start with doctors and hospitals,” the doctors’ body said in a statement on Wednesday.
Majority of the casualties among the doctors are among the general practitioners. The IMA appealed to the leadership of doctors to adopt all scientific best practices to reduce the spectre of death hanging over the heads of medical professionals engaged in saving the lives of hundreds of thousands infected by the disease.
This requires intense review and updating of all administrative set ups in the hospitals, including infection control protocols. Any gap in providing for the safety of doctors, nurses and staff have to be plugged, it said in the statement.
IMA also stressed on the need to put in place a feedback system from the doctors, employees and public apart from a meticulous adherence to cleaning and sanitising protocols inside treatment facilities.
“Analysis of data shows that while senior and young doctors are equally infected with COVID-19, mortality is higher among elders. While this is on expected lines, there is scope for lessening deaths across the age spectrum. Meticulous adherence to norms and discipline inside hospitals will have a salutary effect,” the statement said.
National President of IMA Dr Rajan Sharma said that while the medical profession remains the beacon of hope for the nation in its fight against the pandemic, COVID-19 death among doctors has become a matter of great concern.
“IMA strongly advocates the leadership of doctors in adopting all scientific best practices. Doctors need to take charge of the situation and ensure the safety of themselves, their families, their colleagues and staff,” said Sharma.
He added that senior doctors in decision making positions have enhanced responsibility of taking care of their flock.
Among other measures, the medical body advised implementing a friendly and scientific batch posting method along with tempering the number of working hours guided by concerns of safety. It added that operation theaters, labour rooms, laboratories and casualties require special care and ICUs and Critical Care units needed close scrutiny for adherence to best practices and protocols.