Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Gandhi hospital a beacon of light during pandemic

• The staff worked relentlessly for one year to rescue the patients
• It was a year of dilemmas, threats and sacrifices
• Many healthcare workers stayed put at the hospital for weeks together
• The health warriors were feted by ministers and officials
• It was a saga of service and sacrifice

It was time for Gandhi Hospital, the government hospital that rendered yeomen service during the Covid pandemic, to celebrate and take stock of the experience during the most difficult year battling the unknown disease. The hospital stood like a beacon of light amidst the darkness that descended on the people in the form of the pandemic. The government hospital, which is generally called callous, indifferent and inefficient, has proved its critics wrong by doing miracles going to the rescue of the patients who were not admitted by private hospitals.

Gandhi story inspiring

There is an inspiring story behind the resilient fight put up by the health workers in Telangana against Covid-19. The story of Gandhi hospital, designated as Covid hospital, is marked by courage, hope and fighting spirit. Covid warriors of Gandhi hospital were feted by Telangana State Health Minister Etala Rajender and Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas on Tuesday for their services during the pandemic.

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March 2 has significance for the hospital

It was on March 2 last year that the first Covid patient in Telangana was admitted at Gandhi hospital. The services rendered by the hospital were recalled in a packed hall meeting at Gandhi hospital by Rajender, Srinivas, Director of Medical Eucation Dr. K. Ramesh Reddy, Superintendent of the hospital Dr. Raja Rao and former superintendent Dr. Shravan Kumar. They spoke of the tireless work done by doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff at Gandhi hospital fighting the pandemic. They vividly recalled the dilemmas, threats and discrimination faced by the Covid warriors. They narrated how healthcare workers (HCW) stayed away from their families for weeks together by putting duty before everything else.

Pay hike will be considered

Rajender assured the sanitation workers and patient care providers that their demand for salary raise would be addressed soon. He exhorted the doctors to undertake research to find out the reasons for the death of Covid patients.

When the first Covid patient was admitted…

When the first Covid patient, a 23 year old young man who came from Dubai, was admitted in the hospital, there was no case study to go by. The infection was new and nobody knew how to treat it. There were endless meetings at the hospital running late into night. Since the Covid patients and the suspects were admitted only in government hospitals, there was focus on the inadequacy of health tools equipment’s and other infrastructure facilities. Patients and their companions took photographs and videos of the poor conditions at the hospital and posted in social media bringing a lot of pressure on the doctors and the management, said Dr. Shravan who was the superintendent when the first patient was admitted at Gandhi hospital. He said there was brainstorming and action was taken with the active involvement of the government.

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Delay in discharging patients

Because of the long procedure adopted to discharge Covid-19 patients, many got stuck at the hospital for days together even after getting completely cured, Dr. Raja Reddy, present superintendent said. The pulmonology department came in for special mention for rising up to the occasion and helping in improving the service.

Minister shift office to Koti health campus

The role played by Minister Rajender was also appreciated. He shifted his office to the State health campus in Koti to coordinate with officials in an effective manner. Director of Medical Education Dr. Ramesh Reddy said it was his tryst with pandemic and steps were taken to improve the infrastructure in a fast but methodical manner. Early detection and treatment helped in controlling the spread of virus. The Directorate of Public Health (DPH) under Dr. G. Srinivasa Rao dealt with Covid testing and contact tracing. Dr. Rao and his colleagues used to attend video conferences with the union health ministry in which changes in testing strategies and other aspects were discussed.

30 HCWs succumbed to Covid-19

DPH and DME had lost about 30 healthcare workers to Covid-19. Hundred other workers had battled and recovered from the infection. The services of the 30 persons who died while serving the patients were recalled by the speakers at the meeting with gratitude. The staff is working overtime even today administering vaccine to the HCWs and old persons.

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Family relations shattered: Dr Raja Rao

Dr. Raja Rao, superintendent of Gandhi hospital, in an interview to Eenadu, a Telugu daily, said when the family disowned the patients, the hospital took care of them. Corona has destroyed the families and the bonds, he said. He said the staff used to change the diapers of the old patients. Dr Raja Rao said when the first patient joined the hospital, we approached him wearing N-95 mask and PPE kit. “From 9 am I used to visit all the wards till 12 or 1 pm wearing PPE kit which caused a lot of discomfort. I used to speak to every patient every day. I used to sweat profusely and the sweat drops used to fall on my eyes which I could not even wipe out. There were patients who asked for my photographs after getting discharged. Their love gave me immense satisfaction,” recalled the superintendent.

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