Why should we let doctors decide who should be tested for Covid19 ?

1. It’sknownthattherearealargenumberofCovidpositive asymptomatic individuals. These people if undergoing surgery under anesthesia would be at high risk to develop lung complications after surgery. If God forbid, someone was to die and we are asked, could you have done any test to avoid this death, what are we to say ? That someone from the government gave this order to not do the test.

2. Ifthetestispositiveinanasymptomaticindividual,wewillpostpone their surgery by 2 or more weeks unless of course if it is an emergency condition. Not testing to screen out such patients goes against all medical ethics and makes the Hippocratic Oath a hypocritical oath.

3. Admittingapatientinthehospitalalongwithothersickpatientsandnot testing for Covid19, means the asymptomatic positives can infect other patients and lead to disastrous consequences. Imagine two dialysis or cancer patients in a ward and one of them is positive. Is it fair to the other patient to get Covid19 in the hospital because their government is not allowing tests on asymptomatic individuals.

4. Withthehighincidenceofdiseasenow,itisnotuncommontofindthat a patient admitted with a particular disease also has Covid19. Not having this information can be a matter of life and death. We cannot be playing with lives here.

5. Doctorsandotherhealthcareworkersneedtobetestedwhenin slightest doubt. World over it has been shown that they are at the highest risk. Not testing can mean one HCW spreading the virus unknowingly leading to many falling ill and hospital services closing down due to lack to staff.

6. Familymembers,contactsalsohavearighttoknowiftheyhavealso got infected.

7. Administrationandhospitalsbeingatloggerheadspaintsabadpicture both for the government and medical community. And the loser will be the public for whom we are working.

8. Iseriouslysuggest,acommittee/groupismadeofdoctorswithsenior elected IMA / DMA representatives, one doctor from each Delhi hospital with more than 100 beds. Government can interact with all on Zoom or other platform daily and come out with a joint statement every day. This is the only way if we want to say “ Together we will beat it”.

Dr Arun Prasad MS, FRCS, FACS
Senior Minimal Access & Robotic Surgeon Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi
Former President – Obesity Surgery Society of India

(the above views are personal and not on behalf of any institution or organization)

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