All Personnel Who Dealt With Patients At 2 Pvt Hospitals Isolated

Sumitra Deb Roy & Malathy Iyer TNN


Three nurses in two major private hospitals in the city contracted the novel coronavirus while attending to patients who came in for treatment of ailments other than Covid-19, it was learnt on Monday.

Before now, four doctors were known to have caught the infection. Hospitals said they had upped their guard after these incidents.

The nurses were in good health and recovering.

The medical fraternity faces a high risk of contracting Covid-19 because of close interaction with patients; thousands of doctors and nurses have been affected in other Covid-19-hit countries, such as China, Italy and France, among others.

At Jaslok Hospital on Pedder Road, where one of the nurses tested positive, sources said a patient had come in for treatment of bladder cancer and required a dialysis. The patient did not have any of the classic signs of Covid-19 or a history of foreign travel. He developed a fever during the course of treatment and was tested for the coronavirus and turned out to be positive.

The nurse, doctors and staff attending to him were also tested. While the nurse whose test returned positive was admitted to the Covid-19 ward at Jaslok, the others were kept under quarantine.

At Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai Central, a male and a female nurse tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend. Hospital authorities said that both were involved in the treatment of a 70-year-old heart attack patient. The man, who did not have any travel history, had developed fever and other symptoms four days after undergoing an angioplasty.

“We immediately sent his samples for testing. We also sent the samples of staffers, of which one of the nurses came positive,” Dr Parag Rindani, associate vice-president of Wockhardt, said.

The second nurse’s report arrived on Monday. “Both the nurses have very mild disease,” Rindani said, adding that both were undergoing treatment at the hospital.

On Saturday, KEM Hospital in Parel also had a case of a patient, a 40-year-old woman, who came gasping for breath and who had no travel history. It was only later on Sunday that they learnt she was positive for Covid-19, after which a mad scramble began to trace all the medical personnel who had come in contact with her. Eight hospital staffers were placed in quarantine.

A part of Saifee Hospital and the cardiac catheterisation lab at Breach Candy continued to be sealed after a surgeon tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

“We have to accept it as an occupational hazard,” Rindani said.

He said that for Covid-19 patients, Wockhardt had a 10-bed isolation facility, which was fully occupied now. “Staffers and doctors there have been given personal protective equipment,” he said.

The Jaslok spokesperson said that the patient was shifted to the Covid-19 ward after he developed symptoms.

Critical care expert Dr Abdul Samad Ansari of Nanavati Hospital said hospitals have to accept that not all Covid-19 patients will come with similar symptoms.

Consultant physician Hemant Thacker said it was impractical to quarantine and isolate people and entire hospitals. “How many staffers and doctors can we isolate and quarantine?” he said