Srinagar: The resident doctor who tested positive for novel coronavirus in Baramulla district on Thursday has said that improper protective gear exposed him to the infection at the emergency wing of the hospital, which is associated with Government Medical College Baramulla.
The 40-year-old doctor told Kashmir Reader that the protective gear provided to frontline workers in the hospital is merely “eyewash”.
“I am among the frontline doctors, I should have proper protective gear. Unfortunately, I was provided with poor-quality masks and gowns, which exposed me to coronavirus,” he said.
“There is no N95 mask in the hospital for doctors who see patients in the casualty wing. It puts them to huge risk from asymptomatic coronavirus carriers,” he added.
The doctor said he had probably contracted the infection from one of the elderly patients on April 13 when they came to the hospital emergency for hypertension and other age-related ailments.
“They were sick but showing no Covid-19 symptoms. Such patients are silent carriers of the infection as community transmission has already started in Kashmir. That is why every doctor must have proper protective gear while treating such patients,” he said.
According to him, the “substandard” protective gear has put many of his contacts including patients, family members, and relatives at risk of infection.
He said his wife and children have already started showing Covid-19 symptoms. “My wife is already in the isolation facility with me as she developed symptoms early. Her samples have been sent for testing but the report is still awaited,” he said.
His children, he said, are admitted to a quarantine centre as precautionary measure.
“Many of my relatives and patients who I treated recently have been put in quarantine,” he said.
Medical Superintendent of GMC Baramulla Dr Syed Masood told Kashmir Reader that more than 70 persons who had come in contact with the doctor have been traced so far and put in quarantine.
“Twenty-one of them are medical employees working in our hospital. They have been asked to stay in quarantine for at least 14 days as per the protocol. Others include family members and patients of the doctor,” Dr Masood said.
He added that the hospital authorities have taken help of CCTV footage to identify persons who came in contact with the doctor.
He said that “proper protective gear” including N95 masks were being provided to doctors and other hospital employees.
“He might have contracted infection by other means or in the community, as he has life outside this hospital as well,” the MS said.