As nurses at King Edward Mumbai hospital in Mumbai protested on Monday, demanding a separate room for colleagues infected with the COVID-19 virus and shorter shifts, three medical residents shared a video showing how they treated 25 COVID-19 critically ill patients.
The nurses, who wanted to reduce working hours from eight to ten hours to six to seven hours, returned to work the same day; they said the dean assured them that a separate room was under construction. However, doctors warned that a future shortage of staff responsible for monitoring the condition of patients could lead to an increase in the number of deaths from coronaviruses.
“This is the KEM hospital, ward 4. In the past few hours, there is no nurse. We manage 25 critical patients and only three resident doctors are working permanently to keep them alive”, explained a doctor wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) can be heard at the start of the video.
The video, which shows how doctors intervened to take on the responsibilities of nurses in addition to their own, shows a large room filled with beds on which patients with coronavirus are connected to IVs and machines.
“We need health workers and nurses. We cannot do it alone. There are currently very sick patients,” added the doctor.
The nurses’ protest was precipitated by a delay in finding a bed for a KEM nurse who contracted the new coronavirus while treating a patient in the hospital.
The situation at KEM has returned to normal, but doctors have pointed out that it could have gotten out of hand, given the stretching of the health system in Mumbai and critical patients who need to be constantly monitored.
The KEM hospital also made the headlines last month after the death of a health worker posted to a COVID-19 service sparked an outcry. The worker was a daily bet who would have been denied leave even though he felt bad for four days.
Mumbai crossed the 40,000 mark on Monday evening with 1,413 new infections in 24 hours, said BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation). 40 deaths were reported during the same period, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,319.
Maharashtra, for its part, has crossed the 70,000 mark in the cases of COVID-19.