COVID-19: BJP MLA alleges lapses at Aligarh hospital

BJP MLA alleges lapses at hospital in Aligarh, says facility COVID-19 'hub'

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The Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital here is not informing authorities about novel coronavirus patients in time and has become a "hub" for COVID-19, a Uttar Pradesh BJP lawmaker alleged on Tuesday, seeking an inquiry from the state government.

Expressing shock over the allegations, doctors at the hospital said MLA Dalveer Singh's insinuation has put them "at grave risk of lynching at the hands of ignorant elements". The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), to which the JLNMCH is affiliated, has also criticized the MLA's remarks.

The legislator later said his statement is being "misconstrued and distorted".

In his statement, which has gone viral on social media, Singh alleged that the hospital has become a "hub for the coronavirus" and urged the Uttar Pradesh health minister to institute an inquiry into the lapses at the medical facility.

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Singh also accused the "hospital of not informing district authorities about (COVID-19) patients in a timely manner".

The doctors said they are working round-the-clock at grave risk to their lives.

These remarks have put "us at a grave risk of lynching at the hands of ignorant elements who could vent their anger on doctors on the basis of the MLA's insinuation and holding doctors responsible for this outbreak", the Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) at the hospital in a letter to the district magistrate said.

The doctors said that in case any of them faces any untoward incident, the MLA and district authorities will be held responsible.

RDA president Hamza Malik said authorities cannot absolve themselves of their responsibility for this defamatory action.

Copies of the letter have been sent to the prime minister and chief minister, he said, adding that the hospital is conducting free coronavirus tests of about 250 patients daily.

Following the reaction of doctors, MLA Singh said, "The medical college is a very important health facility not just for this district but for an entire region, and I have approached the Uttar Pradesh government and Union Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene in this matter only because I am aware of the importance of this hospital."

If the functioning of this hosptal is hit then it could lead to a bigger crisis. "It was not my idea to defame the hospital", he said.

"The virus spread among some doctors at the hospital because it was brought in by a patient," he said, adding that the present crisis arose solely because a coronavirus patient was referred to the hospital by a private doctor without duly informing.

Aligarh has 24 COVID-19 cases and the first case in the city was reported less than a week ago when a coronavirus patient was referred to the JLNMCH by a private facility without allegedly informing hospital authorities of the symptoms of the patient.

 

Singh said that "my other complaint is that all the work has been left to junior doctors while senior consultants are not playing their due role."

"This is impacting the healthcare here. I also want an inquiry into reports that some senior consultants are illegally engaging in private practice," he said.

The Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital is the frontline COVID-19 designated hospital for testing patients from more than seven districts of western Uttar Pradesh,  including Gautam Buddh Nagar, Agra, Etah, Hathras, Kasganj, Rampur,  Sambhal, Moradabad and Bulandshahr.       

Hamza said the MLA does not seem to be aware that an infected patient who visits the hospital can easily spread the virus which can hang around in the air and no one can be aware of it.

AMU authorities have also strongly criticized the MLA's statement.     

In a statement, AMU  spokesman Professor Shafay Kidwai said, "The hospital authorities are taking all possible measures to protect patients and doctors . We have provided PPE to all medical staff, and from last week we have made it mandatory for every patient who visits the hospital for any sort of treatment to wear PPE."     

Kidwai said the allegation that the hospital was not informing the district authorities in time is totally baseless.

 The testing machines are being operated at full capacity round the clock and every day reports are sent to district authorities.