‘Can’t Even Collect COVID Samples Due to FIR:’ Ganga Ram Doctor

‘We cannot even collect samples of COVID patients in our hospital’, says doctor of Sir Ganga Ram hospital 

Published11 Jun 2020, 04:07 AM IST
Coronavirus
3 min read

Video Editor: Vivek Gupta

On 5 June the Delhi government filed an FIR against Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, one of the oldest private hospitals in Delhi, preventing them from collecting and testing COVID-19 samples. The reasons given were that the hospital's lab was not updating sample and testing details on an app as per Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advisory. ICMR is India's apex research body and leading the efforts against the pandemic.

The Chairman and Senior Consultant of the department of microbiology of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr Chand Wattal talks to The Quint about the problems the hospital is facing ever since the FIR has been registered.

We are not collecting samples from (COVID patients) anymore. The embargo is also on collecting samples.
Dr Chand Wattal, Chairman, Department of Microbiology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital

A day before, on 4 June the main Sir Ganga Ram hospital was declared a COVID hospital, with 80 percent beds reserved for COVID patients. Two other hospitals associated with Sir Gangaram are already exclusively catering to COVID patients in the city.

Just few days back my lab was the most sought lab. Extremely active and working 24 hours. We were churning out 300 odd reports ( a day). The turnaround time of reports was 24 hours. We did not merit to be penalised to this extend. As long as you are, I think, not deviant in intention, to activate an act on a hospital like Sir Ganga Ram, that is meeting all requirements of testing and reporting, is not right.
Dr Chand Wattal, Chairman, Department of Microbiology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital

Replying to the first allegation in the FIR, that says the hospital was not uploading sample and testing details on an app as per ICMR guidelines, the doctor blames a technicality.

Not a single COVID positive case was left unreported. Even though we were not able to use the app because we were not given user ID and password. We were chasing them for three weeks. If we are not given user ID and password, what are we going to do, we will not stop working. So we kept on updating data to District Magistrate Central via email. All data is with them.
Dr Chand Wattal, Chairman, Department of Microbiology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital

Another allegation against the hospital lab is that it was testing asymptomatic cases against Delhi government’s advisory. Dr Wattal says that in a super speciality hospital like Sir Ganga Ram, not testing all patients can prove dangerous.

A doctor cannot operate even a simple gallbladder operation if the patient is a carrier of COVID. The mortality could be as high as 20-30%. Even our own healthcare workers and their family members, they might not be symptomatic but could be spreaders.
Dr. Chand Wattal, Chairman, Department of Microbiology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital

Many COVID patients at Ganga Ram hospital are waiting for the second COVID test and they will not be tested until the hospital gets the permission to conduct tests, Dr Wattal further added.

The main embargo is that we cannot collect samples. Had we been allowed to collect samples, we could have collected it and given to some other lab. But we can’t even do that.
Dr Chand Wattal, Chairman, Department of Microbiology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital

The hospital is currently contesting the FIR.

Watch the video above for more.

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