AURANGABAD: Three resident doctors in government hospitals across the state have been detected with pulmonary tuberculosis in the past one month, prompting the Maharashtra Association for Resident Doctors (MARD) to seek reduction in working hours.
The three TB cases reported in the past one month were from Mumbai, two from JJ hospital and one from KEM. One junior resident doctor was working in the gynaecology department of the JJ hospital and had contracted lymph node TB, while the other doctor was detected with lung TB.
JJ medical college dean TP Lahane said, "Both residents had joined the hospital in August and were diagnosed with TB in November. They may have contracted TB before joining the hospital, but they do not reveal the details."
He added that all precautionary measures are being initiated at the hospital. "We have made it mandatory for the staff, including the doctors, to wear mask before entering the TB ward since last year," he said.
Resident doctors said that they have to work for long hours, often lasting for 100 hours a week, which causes inadequate sleep and irregular eating hours. They said that the residents living in hostels do not get proper nutritious food.
Mangala Borkar, head of medicine department, Aurangabad GMCH said tremendous stress, long-working hours, lack of nutritious diet for students staying in hostels and high exposure to TB patients in the hospitals put resident doctors at a higher risk.
"Resident doctors tend to have fewer meals as a result of hectic work schedule and night shifts. This reduces their immunity and makes them vulnerable to various infections," said MARD secretary Ayudh Magdum.
About 90 resident doctors at 15 state government hospitals have undergone TB treatment in past three years. MARD members said that some of the resident doctors had contracted drug-resistant TB. About 50% of the cases were from the medical colleges in Mumbai, including the state-run JJ hospital.
MARD president Sagar Mundada said that 45 cases were of resident doctors in Mumbai, 10 from Nagpur, seven from Aurangabad, six from Pune and five from Nanded. "We have been demanding high-protein breakfast to be made available for resident doctors and reducing working hours. Resident doctors are working for an average 100 hours per week, which leads to lack of sleep and decreased immunity," he said.
Dismissing the MARD claim, Aurangabad GMCH authorities said that they had not recorded any cases of resident doctors contracting tuberculosis in the past three years.
Avinash Lamb, TB and chest ward in-charge, said that the hospital records do not show any such cases in past three years. "One case of a resident doctor from medicine department suffering from extra pulmonary TB was reported few years ago. But the medico underwent treatment, recovered and completed her degree. She is no longer attached to the college," he said.