Attock                -        Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 positive patients admitted at District Headquarters Hospital Attock on Thursday alleged that doctors were playing with their lives as there is ambiguity in treatment and paucity of facilities. 

Patients who are under treatment in an isolation ward of the hospital told newsmen on condition of anonymity on Thursday that from the day they were tested COVID-19 positive, no physician has checked them properly and even paramedics on duty were reluctant to treat them.

They alleged that doctor on duty never came to the isolation ward and instead some of the doctors of the hospital contacted them on their cell phones and enquired about their symptoms, condition and status of their health.

The patients alleged that the physician appointed at isolation ward on papers are being rewarded extra remuneration as frontline workers against the virus but the ground realities are somewhat different.  It has also been observed that a large number of staff of the District Headquarters Hospital were performing duties without any personal protective equipment while even some staff was performing duties without masks and hand gloves. 

Moreover, a source of DHQ Hospital told this journalist that an employee working in the blood bank became COVID-19 positive few days ago and subsequently he disappeared from the hospital without informing the hospital and health authorities.

Later, he was brought to hospital and admitted in isolation ward however ironically the authorities were kept in dark over the issue and so far no legal or departmental action was initiated against the said official. 

Though the shortage of personal protective equipment at the national level has been a recurring theme almost since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, some officials of the District Headquarters Hospital on condition of anonymity while talking to this reporter blamed the government and provincial health authorities for not doing enough to protect them. A female doctor told this reporter that their role in the fight against the virus has been underestimated, leaving them to work without adequate protection.

“We do not have protocols or guidelines for us on the ground explaining how to manage patients or modify our own work,” another doctor added. Another female doctor said that for her practice in hospital she had to buy own protective equipment to continue checking patients.

When contacted, Medical Superintendent DHQ AttockDr Khalid Mehmood denied all the allegations and said that if any patient is not satisfied then he must lodge a complaint in writing and action will be taken. When asked about the personal protective equipment (PPE), masks and gloves not being provided to the hospital staff, he said that hospital has not been provided with required PPEs by the district health authorities.  While replying to another question he said that the names of the doctors and paramedics have been recommended on merit for extra salary and no one has been recommended against the rule.

Chief Executive Officer District Health Authority Dr. SohailEjazAwan, when contacted about the non-supply of PPEs to the DHQ Hospital, said that health department Attock is having sufficient number of gloves and face masks and said that administration of DHQ hospital has not approached him in connection with paucity of the aforementioned items. 

Responding a question, he said that according to Thursday update in the district there is stock of 1473 N-95 masks, 6004 gowns, 2314 goggles, 299959 gloves, 9755 shoe covers and 3522 Virus Collection Swab kits.

Responding to another question, he said that the names of those doctors and paramedics have been recommended for extra salary who are actively performing anti-COVID-19 duties and said that no violation has been made in this context.