New Delhi, Oct 3 : Lack of adequate PPE kits, inadequate technique of PPE donning and doffing, non-disclosure by patients of their exposure to possible Covid-19 infection, excessive working hours, and poor doctor-patient ratio are the reasons for higher fatality among doctors, according to an analysis.
India currently has the most number of Covid-19 cases in the world after the US. The pandemic has also caused high mortality, not only in patients, but also in the healthcare fraternity.
According to an analysis of the pandemic’s impact on the healthcare community, the other recognised risk factors among doctors are close contact in physical examination and therapy of infected patients, direct contact with body fluid and excreta from the patients, suctioning of airways, endotracheal intubation, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
As per a research paper by Aanandita Kapoor and Krishan Mohan Kapoor, the maximum number of Covid-19 fatalities have been recorded among general practitioners. Among the specialists, most deaths are seen among pediatricians, followed by medical specialists, general surgeons, obstetricians, gynecologists and anesthesiologists.
A total of 382 Covid-related deaths and 2,174 infections were reported among doctors in India till September 10, with a case fatality rate of 16.7 per cent among Indian doctors, which was 10 times the rate of 1.7 per cent in the general population.
The details of the data for the research were taken from the list of doctors in India who died due to Covid-19, which was compiled by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the top body of Indian doctors practicing modern allopathic medicine.
“The maximum number of deceased doctors were general practitioners 225 (58.9 per cent). Among the specialists, most deaths were seen in pediatricians 26 (6.8 per cent), medical specialists 24 (6.3 per cent), general surgeons 22 (5.8 per cent), obstetricians and gynecologists 16 (4.2 per cent), and anesthesiologists 14 (3.7 per cent),” the duo stated.
The highest Covid-19 related deaths in doctors were seen in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The average age of Covid-19 related death was 60 years among doctors. General practitioners and 60 years+ doctors are at a much higher risk of mortality among the doctors.
According to the researchers, all precautionary principles should be used for frontline health workers, and a properly fitted respirator or masks should be used.
They said that there should be a uniform policy regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) where health workers’ occupational health and safety are given high priority.
“Telemedicine reduces the risk of the treating physicians and reinforces the health systems with healthcare workers quarantined at home after exposure to Covid-19,” the researchers said.