'Panic, not rush, taking toll on healthcare system'

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It is the panic, not the rush, which is taking a toll on the healthcare system, Medical Superintendent at MCH Gandhinagar Government Medical College Jammu Dr Arun Sharma said Wednesday.

“It’s not actually the rush of patients that is creating pressure on the medical fraternity and infrastructure but it is the panic that is taking the toll on the system and will ultimately prove disastrous. Corona warriors will fail if people don’t understand the essence of key word – social responsibility,” said

Dr Sharma, who is at the fore-front managing the affairs of 200-bedded dedicated COVID hospital in Jammu.

The hospital has 70-oxygen beds of which 58 are presently occupied.

According to Dr Sharma, on an average, the hospital is recording a footfall of 200 patients daily of them 10-12 are COVID-19 patients who actually require hospitalisation.

Dr Sharma said that unlike the generic perception being created that the shortage of beds and oxygen in all the hospitals was leaving patients gasping for breath, the MCH Gandhinagar is fully equipped to cater to the needs of genuine patients.

“However, as people crowd the hospitals in panic, this actually makes the situation scary and overwhelms the doctors and other staff on duty as well,” he said.

Besides the peripheries of Jammu, this hospital also caters to the overwhelming rush of patients from other districts of the region, which is seeing an upsurge in positive cases as well as in fatalities.

However, Dr Sharma points at another side of the crisis.

“Medical fraternity is also losing its soldiers, overwhelmed by the panicky crowd of patients and their attendants. People even with milder symptoms insist on hospitalization. This is only burdening the already squeezing healthcare system,” he said.

As a representative of the medical fraternity, Dr Sharma has another grouse against the public at large.

“See, people are not slashing any of their luxuries. They are partying, are out on the roads without masks, flouting all SOPs. There is no concept of social responsibility even when they all see dreadful pictures being flashed day in and day out. On the other hand, here is our fraternity. In fact, this is true about all frontline warriors that none is allowed to proceed on leave. For the last more than a year, we could not avail even a single leave. Don’t we have any social life? We’re spending a life away from our families. We’re putting their lives at risk too. Do the people, particularly the youth, aimlessly roaming on the roads realise this? They should be penalised to contain the pandemic,” he said.

“Corona warriors – a tag, which is flagged every now and then by one and all, to inspire and motivate the overburdened medical fraternity, is not enough. Undoubtedly the fraternity, comprising doctors and paramedical staff is at the forefront to tackle the devastating second wave, providing succour to humanity. It is easy to blame us for any fatality. Yet the public at large must realise that this ‘white coat’ army is their last line of defence. Don’t kill it or overburden it. If it collapses under the overwhelming pressure created by the rush of panicky patients, it will be disastrous and unmanageable. In this critical scenario, social responsibility should be the key word,” he said.