GUWAHATI, May 7 - With the spread of COVID-19 creating panic in the minds of people, patients suffering from other diseases are facing severe hardship as the hospitals have to take adequate precautions before admitting a patient. The problems compounded as the medical college hospitals were also closed for general patients for nearly a month as those hospitals were demarcated as COVID-19 hospitals.
As public transport was off the road for more than a month, the patients also found it tough to visit hospitals and in the process, a large number of patients were deprived of treatment. One such example is the problems faced by cancer patients, who missed their chemotherapy and radiation schedules.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Director of Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute, Dr Amal Chandra Kataki said that the COVID-19 pandemic taught everyone a major lesson and from now onwards, wherever a hospital is set up, there should be accommodation facilities for patients and quarters for doctors and other staff. He said that at present, the Institute has three guest houses where 130 patients and attendants can stay and during the lockdown period, a number of patients could stay there for treatment. The Institute also has quarters for the staff, which was helpful during the lockdown period.
Dr Kataki said that according to an estimate, the patient flow to the Institute came down by around 50 per cent as many patients could not come as public transport system was not in operation. He admitted that in most cases, cancer is detected late and if a patient misses chemotherapy or radiation cycles, it would have serious implications.
He said that if the treatment remains incomplete, the outcome would definitely affect the patients and in some cases, the patients become drug resistant if they fail to take the full treatment of chemotherapy. However, he said that the Institute did not turn down any patient during the period.
Meanwhile, commenting on the issue, Medical Director of Health City Hospital, Dr Bhabani Chakravarty admitted that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused hardships for other patients. He said that whenever a patient comes to any non-COVID-19 hospital, a standard protocol has to be maintained. Every patient coming to a hospital has to be screened and their travel history has to be taken. If a patient shows any of the symptoms of COVID-19, the person has to be sent to the Gauhati Medical College Hospital for COVID-19 test and only after getting the clearance, such patients are admitted. Sometimes, it takes time to get the results of COVID-19 tests, which delays treatment of the patients.
Dr Chakravarty said that if any COVID-19 patient is detected in any non COVID-19 hospital, the entire floor of the hospital would have to be sealed and the doctors and other staff attending to the patient would have to be quarantined. Several such instances have already occurred in other parts of the country and under the circumstances, no one is taking any chance. However, at the same time, Dr Chakravarty said, �we are following the instructions of the Government and treated other patients when the medical colleges were closed as per the instructions of the Government.�
Dr Chakravarty also admitted that during the lockdown period, the patients found it difficult to visit hospitals and though radiation and chemotherapy were going on in Health City Hospital, a number of patients could not reach hospital on time and �in case of those coming from outside, we advised them to stay in Guwahati if possible so that they do not miss treatment.�