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March 20, 2020

Health professionals develop issues after confronting coronavirus patient

National

March 20, 2020

PESHAWAR: All three health professionals and an on-technical person, who had confronted the coronavirus patient in Mardan who has, said they had developed serious health issues including sore throat, chest pain and fever.

A two-member team of doctors was sent to Manga village on Tuesday to collect information from patient Sadat Khan when he was tested positive in the laboratory report. “The two doctors and their driver had become sick after spending three hours in his home in Manga and returned to Mardan. Their driver had already quarantined himself in his home but his condition is stable,” said a senior doctor in the Mardan Medical Complex (MMC).

Pleading anonymity, he said the two doctors had developed cough, sore throat and fever after they returned to Mardan. “They went to the house of the patient along with another doctor colleague and traced the patient in his village Manga when he was tested positive. They stood at quite some distance when they spoke to the patient,” said the doctor. Also, a female physician who had first encountered Sadat Khan when he was brought to Mardan, reportedly also became sick and complained of sore throat, cough and fever.

“Will you believe, the district health officer didn’t provide the female physician any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and directed her to handle the patient, knowing that he is a potential COVID-19 case,” said an insider of the district health office Mardan.

He alleged that after the female physician fell ill and desired to do her test but the DHO office didn’t provide her kit and rather asked her to go to a private hospital in Peshawar for the investigations. “We are playing with a very dangerous virus at the cost of our lives. The government has not provided us anything to effectively deal with the coronavirus,” the staff member complained.

He claimed there was not a single kit in Mardan. Ajmal Wazir, advisor to the chief minister on information, said the government would investigate this particular issue in Mardan. The authorities in Mardan are expecting a major rise in the number of patients in the near future, fearing that Sadat Khan might have infected hundreds of people in Manga village. A report authored by a group of doctors about Sadat Khan, obtained by this correspondent, revealed some alarming situation.

They mentioned in the report that after returning from Umra on March 9 via direct PIA flight, in Peshawar, he had met hundreds of people. During the flight, the patient was accompanied by two of his friends from same village. After arriving at his home in Manga, Sadat Khan’s family had arranged a grand lunch in which almost all the villagers participated and greeted him on performing Umra.

He was not a qualified doctor but used to be a prominent health practitioner in the village. His three sons used to work with him in the clinic and the family was known as a family of doctors in the village, surrounded by crops of sugarcane and wheat.

According to his close relative and his friend Alamzeb Khan, who had gone with him for Umra, Sadat Khan developed some health compilations when they landed in Saudi Arabia. His friend said he had an influenza too when reached but it settled down after some time.

However, he said Sadat Khan didn’t improve during their 21 days of stay in there. He said Sadat Khan didn’t feel well when they were flying back home. In the airport, the family had approached someone in the FIA who received Sadat at the airport and helped him get his luggage. “Now that FIA official was the first one who confronted the patient and remained close to him. Nobody know about him and hundreds of other passengers travelled with the patient in the same flight,” the doctors had mentioned in the report.

And after a few days, the patient’s condition deteriorated and was taken to a physician. Now the physician, probably a female, handled him without any PPE. "Now the physician is also at risk as he was close to the patient,” it is said. In his home, the patient lived with a family comprising of 12 members.

He was living in a neighbourhood with his relatives in his native village and met his relatives frequently and visited their houses. The patient was received at DHQ Mardan on March 16,2020 with complaints of cough, fever, and difficulty in breathing. He was notified as a suspected patient of COVID-19 and his nasopharyngeal swab was sent to NIH Islamabad through DHO office Mardan.

He had reportedly refused to get quarantined in DHQ Hospital Mardan and preferred staying at home. On March 19, 2020, NIH confirmed the patient as a confirmed case of COVID19 and a team of doctors went to track the contacts and shifted the patient to Mardan Medical Complex Isolation Center where he died.

“The purpose of the thread is to create awareness about the importance of self-isolation and social distancing as a single infected person can transmit the infection to an entire village and bad news is that female doctor who took his swab has also developed the symptoms,” the doctors stated in their detailed report.