Karnataka: 28 doctors died in second wave, but no relief from government yet | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: A staggering 28 doctors across Karnataka succumbed to the virus during the second wave of Covid-19, but none of their families has received insurance relief earmarked by the government for healthcare workers. This, despite several pleas through the Indian Medical Association.
All the dead doctors had received at least one dose of the vaccine, while most of them had got their second shots too. Four of the dead doctors are from Bengaluru.
Dr Manu V, 27, from Chintamani, Chikkaballapur district, who died on June 16, is the most recent addition to the list of casualties. Posted at Burudugunte primary health centre, he screened patients for Covid-19 and treated those who were positive.
Dr Manu was born with rickets, a congenital bone disease, and required support to move around. But his batchmates remember him for having overcome the disability to serve the poor. Colleagues and friends of Dr Manu have written to the government seeking compensation for the family, but there has been no word yet from officials.
Another of those who died, Dr Mohammed Khallelullah Shakil, an associate professor of paediatrics at Basaveshwara medical college and hospital, Chitradurga, was seeing several children suspected to have Covid-19. He had taken both the doses of the vaccine but tested positive for Covid and died on June 7. His family too has not received any communication from the government.
“You can’t guess what went wrong in a Covid death. The infection got severe in his case. He was on duty in the hospital’s OPD when he tested positive. We haven’t got any call from the government,” said Dr Mohammed Aquib Shakeel, son of Dr Shakil.
Dr GN Ganesh Kumar, 59, worked as medical officer in a general hospital in Kollegal, Chamarajanagar district. He died on April 27, the first doctor to die of Covid in the second wave. He too had taken both doses of the vaccine.
A Bengaluru doctor died days after taking the second dose vaccine of Covid. “He tested positive and his condition worsened. It has been noted as a case of adverse event following immunisation,” sources said.
Dr JA Jailal, national president, Indian Medical Association, the government has not yet initiated any measures to ensure compensation for families of Covid doctors martyred during the second wave. “A total 750 doctors have died during the second wave in India. We have submitted details of all of them to the government,” Dr Jailal told TOI.
Dr Om Prakash Patil, director, Karnataka health and family welfare department, said proposals received from bereaved families are being processed. As per guidelines, healthcare workers who die while on Covid duty will get compensation, Dr Patil said.
“The benefit covers healthcare workers in government and private sector, but not those working in private clinics,” Dr Patil said. “We have sent all proposals we have received to the Centre. Families of 60 deceased healthcare workers including ASHA workers, nurses and doctors have got the insurance benefit,” said Dr Patil.
Dr KV Thrilok Chandra, commissioner, state health department, said, “In all, 37 claims from health workers are being processed.”
However, IMA members said none of the families of those who died in the second wave have received even a single call from the government.
“Infections among healthcare workers is a professional hazard. They are the most vulnerable,” said Dr SM Prasad, secretary, IMA-Karnataka.
He said no Covid-19 vaccine has 100% efficacy. Even if the vaccine has 82% efficacy, it means that 82 people out of every 100 vaccinated persons get immunity. “The remaining 18 may not develop antibodies. These doctors who died have been very unlucky,” said Dr Prasad.
Dr Prasad said the state should have ideally compensated families of all the doctors who died, without differentiating between government and private.
There are nearly 1.3 lakh doctors in Karnataka, but only 26,000 of them are members of IMA. The association has a unique social security scheme that helps bereaved families with insurance. “In some cases, children of deceased doctors are struggling to pay their college fees. We are trying to help such families through the IMA Martyrs’ Fund,” said Dr Prasad.
IMA-Karnataka says 91 doctors have died of Covid-19 in the state since March 2020. State health department data shows claims from families of 36 doctors have been received including from those in the private sector. “Of them, 20 have been approved,” health department authorities said.

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Sagar Biswas

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