Delhi hospitals face staff crunch as doctors down with dengue, chikungunya

New Delhi : It’s not only the common people who are down with chikungunya and dengue here in the national capital — even the doctors are suffering from the vector-borne diseases, leading to staff crunch in the city hospitals.

Authorities told IANS on Thursday that they are witnessing a shortage of staff as many doctors, including senior faculty members, have tested positive for the vector-borne diseases, keeping them from discharging their duties.

Support TwoCircles

According to government-run Safdarjung Hospital, while a total of 10-12 senior faculty members have tested positive for chikungunya, at least 25 junior doctors, including senior and junior residents, are suffering from chikungunya and dengue.

Notably, Safdarjung already has a staff shortage of over 30 per cent.

“A good number of our doctors are badly suffering from chikungunya and dengue, including senior faculty members and resident doctors. While a few of them are admitted to the hospital, many are on leaves and undergoing treatment at home as the dengue wards are flooded with patients and there is no space,” A.K. Rai, Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, told IANS.

“We are managing with very less number of doctors right now,” Rai added.

Rai said that there is also a shortage of beds which is creating a havoc-type situation in the hospitals.

Out of the 175 chikungunya patients in centrally-located Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, over 30 are doctors of the hospital itself, an official said.

“I personally know five senior faculty members of RML hospital who were badly ill with chikungunya and dengue. However, the total number of doctors suffering from chikungunya and dengue is somewhere between 30-35,” V.K. Sinha, spokesperson of RML Hospital, told IANS.

According to him, RML has a dengue ward having 110 beds. One fever clinic has also been started at the hospital to attend to the rising number of patients with viral fever, which is a major symptom of both dengue and chikungunya.

According to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which monitors the number of dengue and chikungunya cases across Delhi, a total of 487 cases of dengue and 432 cases of chikungunya have been reported in the national capital till August 27.

While North Delhi has recorded the highest number of dengue cases at 98, South Delhi has recorded the highest number of Chikungunya cases at 25.

However, the unofficial figures tell a different story, with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) alone witnessing over 450 cases of chikungunya.

“This season over 50 medical staff of AIIMS, including 10-12 senior faculty members and many junior and senior residents, are suffering from chikungunya and dengue,” said a senior doctor of the medicine department at AIIMS, wishing he not be identified.

A total of 20 doctors at Ganga Ram Hospital are also suffering from chikungunya and dengue.

“Twelve of our senior doctors are suffering from chikungunya while eight of the doctors are suffering from dengue,” Atul Gogia, senior consultant at Ganga Ram Hospital, told IANS.

According to Punita Mahajan, Medical Superintendent of Ambedkar Hospital, in north-west Delhi, 10 per cent of the doctors working in the hospital have been reported to be suffering from viral fever.

However, she was unable to confirm the exact number of staff members down with the vector-borne diseases.