No PPEs, No Tests: 86 Mumbai Medical Students Who Self-Quarantined

86 medical students allege they were not given safety kits or even tested after they nursing COVID-19 Patients.

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Video Producer: Hera Khan

While rising coronavirus cases in Maharashtra have wreaked havoc in the state, 86 students of the RN Cooper hospital have written to the principal asking to relieve them of COVID-19 duties. They have put themselves in self-quarantine against the management’s permission after a few of them got exposed to corona positive patients in different wards

A student nurse alleged:

“I was posted at the casualty ward. There was an emergency department where anyone, whether positive or a suspected case of COVID-19, could be admitted. The doctors and staff nurses there were wearing PPEs and so they asked me to wear the PPE as well. But when the HOD of the microbiology department came, she asked me why was I wearing the PPE. On telling her that I was a student nurse, she said students don’t need to wear PPEs”.

Apart from this issue the students have even complained to the principal and the dean about the lack of safety gear while they are put on COVID-19 duties. The students in their letters have mentioned that they would want to withdraw from the duties as they are forced to work without any safety measures and gears as basic as an N-95 mask.

Another medical student alleged:

“We were placed in a suspected area like MICU where a woman was found positive. We provided her nursing care without any protective kits. However when the woman was found positive the hospital didn’t inform us. Everyone around her– doctors , intern and other staff members were quarantined. But we were not informed despite our names being mentioned in the duty list”.

On the other hand Dr Pinakin Gujjar, Dean of RN Cooper hospital, refuted the claims saying that asymptomatic students were not tested but six of them who had symptoms were tested.

He said, “ Everyone is scared and doesn’t want to work. I have permitted them to be in self-quarantine and they can resume their duties after the period is over. I personally had a meeting with them and assured them that everything is being taken care of and there is nothing to worry about. Repeated tests are not going to yield any proper results if the patient is not infected. There is no need to make a huge issue out of it but the students don’t seem to understand.”

A medical student of the RN Cooper hospital appealed, “Please consider us as a part of the healthcare system. Even students are a part of the hospital as we are working here.”

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