Intern, who caught TB at work, dies

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SamidhaDr Samidha Khandare, the 24-year-old medical intern of Sion hospital who was battling multi-drug resistant tuberculosis since January, died on Sunday after her condition took a turn for the worse over the past few days.  Doctors say that Khandare, who suffered renal failure on Sunday, had also suffered brain damage over the past few weeks, due to blood supply to the brain being compromised being cause of the TB infection. Khandare’s colleagues are livid with the civic authorities, whom they blamed for her illness.

They say that the shabby state of hospitals and hostels make them vulnerable to contracting infections as severe as TB. Since November last, 15 doctors from Sion hospital have contracted TB. Recently, a senior doctor from the civic-run KEM Hospital also contracted the disease.

Khandare, who hailed from Akola, contracted TB during her internship period at Sion hospital. She was initially treated with the first line of anti-TB drugs, but a few weeks later was put on the second line of drugs.  Khandare was first admitted to the ICU at Sion hospital, but after her condition deteriorated due to an additional ICU-contracted infection, her family moved her to Mahim’s Hinduja Hospital. “We hoped her condition would improve, but of late her organs were not responding and she was on a ventilator,” said Khandare’s elder brother Shekhar, a doctor at KEM.

“I hope my sister’s sacrifice serves as an example and the civic body takes up the cause of interns and resident doctors who risk contracting such infections,” said Shekhar, adding that living conditions at hostels can do with drastic improvement.  Dr Santosh Wakchaure, president of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), said, “Working hours too are extremely long, due to which doctors barely have time for meals. This leads to doctors compromising their own health.”

MARD had written to the additional municipal commissioner as well as the mayor after Khandare had been hospitalised, demanding that a health policy be provided for doctors so that their treatment is covered when they fall ill.

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