As many as 99 doctors in the country, a majority of them general practitioners, have succumbed to COVID-19, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said on Wednesday, and declared a red alert for medicos and medical administrators asking them to raise their guard.
According to IMA National COVID registry data, of the total 1,302 doctors infected with COVID-19, 99 have succumbed to the disease. Of those dead, 73 were above the age of 50 years, 19 in the age-group of 35-50 and seven below 35 years, the data showed.
"IMA declares RED ALERT to doctors and medical administrators to raise their guard. If COVID-19 mortality has to be lessened, it has to start with doctors and hospitals," the doctors' body said in a statement.
The IMA strongly advocated the leadership of doctors in adopting all scientific best practices.
This requires intense review and updating of all administrative set ups in the hospitals, including infection control protocols. Any gap in providing for the safety of doctors, nurses and staff have to be plugged, it said in the statement.
A feedback system from the doctors, employees and public needs to be put in place. Cleaning and sanitising protocols should be meticulously adhered to, the IMA said.
"Analysis of data shows that while senior and young doctors are equally infected with COVID-19, mortality is higher among elders. While this is on expected lines, there is scope for lessening deaths across the age spectrum. Meticulous adherence to norms and discipline inside hospitals will have a salutary effect," the statement said.
National President of IMA Dr Rajan Sharma said that while the medical profession remains the beacon of hope for the nation to lead the exit from the pandemic, COVID-19 death among doctors has become a matter of great concern.
"IMA strongly advocates the leadership of doctors in adopting all scientific best practices. Doctors need to take charge of the situation and ensure the safety of themselves, their families, their colleagues and staff."
Senior doctors who are decision makers for the institutions have enhanced responsibility of taking care of their flock, the IMA national president said.
"Friendly and scientific batch posting needs to be implemented. Working hours should be tempered by concerns of safety. Providing for PPEs, training, physical distancing and sanitisers should be monitored on daily basis.
"Operation theaters, labour rooms, laboratories and casualties require special care. ICUs and Critical Care units deserve close scrutiny for adherence to best practices and protocols," Secretary General of IMA Dr RV Asokan said.