India

Hospital visits a big ask for non-corona patients amid lockdown

Dr Dodul Mondal, an oncologist at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital here, told IANS that during patients suffering from various diseases are going through immense hardships.

“One of my patients is not able to come for treatment due to the lockdown and sealing of inter-state borders. Getting a movement pass from the administration is not that easy,” said Dr Mondal.

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Even though the government has issued guidelines for handling other diseases and also stressed the use of tele-consultations, it needs no guessing to conclude that all people are not very hands-on with tele-consultations in the country. Also, telemedicine facility has its own limitations.

“Telemedicine is probably the best solution in the given circumstances, but every disease cannot be treated over the phone. Some diseases need regular clinical examination. It's OK for follow-up patients but new patients need clinical examination which cannot be done on telephone,” Dr Mondal pointed out.

Dr Mondal said that there were many hospitals unable to provide hundred per cent services due to reasons like fear of crowding on the premises and consequent spread of infections etc. “Patients are unable to reach the hospitals because of the lockdown. For example, patients with chronic illnesses like hypertension or heart disease. They need to be checked regularly”

The doctor also pointed out that kidney patients were unable to get dialysis. “There are many diseases which can be prevented but may aggravate during the lockdown. Immunization and blood donation programmes have been badly affected. The consequences of such things will be visible in the long run. My concern is that other patients too should get treatment.”

<br>An elderly patient, Kavita Sharma, said she is suffering from a medical problem related to ears and nose but she does not know how to use tele-consultation because she is not comfortable with the whole process.

“I do not know who to call at this time. Also, I do not know how to use an app for medication. I am not a tech-savvy person and do not have anyone at home to help me with this,” said the 60-year-old.

She said that due to constant pain in her ears she had tonsil problem. “I don't think this problem can be sorted out through telephone because this tonsil needs to be examined by the doctor.”

Asmita Ojha, 36, a resident of Greater Noida said, she needed to visit a nephrologist every month as she is on medication after a kidney transplant.

“I am extremely vulnerable to a viral infection because of my medication. But I had to postpone my visit to the doctor for clinical examination due to the lockdown.”

Asmita's problems only seem to have mounted after she recently broke her right arm and had to go for a surgery for multiple fractures.

“It was a very difficult time for me because I already have restricted movement due to my health condition. I have to manage everything by myself because not many people are allowed to move around due to the lockdown. Getting a government pass is another long story of struggle. I have to postpone dressings for my fractured limb as such issues are not even considered health emergency. However, anything can turn into a health emergency as I am prone to all sorts of infections due to the kidney disease.”

A senior cardiologist, Dr Anand Pandey, told IANS that people were scared due to coronavirus spread and were avoiding visits to hospitals despite the need in some cases.

“There are many patients who do not want to visit hospitals due to coronavirus scare. I called up some patients but they refused to come for required clinical check-up. In a few cases they had to struggle to get government passes also. The policy-makers should come out with some mechanism to ease movement of such patients during the lockdown,” Dr Pandey said.

–IANS<br>sfm/tsb

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