PUNE: Resident doctors, nurses and other staff of the state-run Sassoon Hospital here on Friday expressed their displeasure over transfer of dean Dr Ajay Chandanwale amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Representatives of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), nurses, Class III and IV employees assembled at the main premises of the hospital and registered their protest over Chandanwale's transfer on Thursday evening by the Maharashtra government.
The coronavirus death count in Pune district, the second-worst affected by COVID-19 after Mumbai, has gone up to 48, of which 39 patients have died in Sassoon Hospital, one of the biggest medical centres in the city.
When contacted on Thursday night, Chandanwale confirmed his transfer and said he will be relieved of his duty at the hospital on Friday.
"Dr Chandanwale's transfer under the present circumstances is unwarranted. Sassoon is a COVID critical care centre and how will things be managed in his absence?" one of the MARD representatives said.
The transfer will demoralise the medical staff who are currently working round-the-clock to fight against the pandemic, he said.
Incidentally, Chandanwale spoke to PTI an hour before his transfer order came on Thursday, and explained why the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients was high at the state-run hospital.
"When patients from lower-middle class background are referred here from other hospitals, they come with severe co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic liver and lung ailments," Chandanwale had said.
The mortality rate of COVID-19 patients at Sassoon Hospital was high because it is a designated COVID critical care centre and patients, who cannot afford to go to private hospitals, come there for treatment, he said.
"Moreover, if some patients go to private hospitals and their condition deteriorates, they are again referred to Sassoon," he added.
The only way to stop the flow of critically ill patients to Sassoon Hospital was to detect their co-morbid conditions at an initial stage so that they get proper treatment, he said.
Rigorous health screening of senior citizens suffering from co-morbid conditions was the need of the hour, he added.
Sources had said Chandanwale was holding the additional charge as joint director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research, Mumbai, where he has been asked to report.