Thiruvananthapuram : The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), which has come for criticism after 43 of its doctors had to be kept in isolation under observation as a doctor tested coronavirus positive, finally broke its silence on Tuesday, saying its high priority and emergency surgeries and outpatient departments are working.
In all, 76 officials of the institute are presently under observation.
In a statement issued here Tuesday, the hospital said elective procedures and admissions have been postponed till staff strength is restored and patients have been informed.
Coming under the Union Science and Technology Department, SCTIMST is an institution of national importance.
However, things went haywire there because of the careless attitude of its higher-ups in tackling the spread of Covid-19.
Apart from these medical professionals, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, who had visited the institute on Saturday and attended a high level meeting there, had to put himself in home quarantine in Delhi.
Muraleedharan and his office are deeply upset with the SCTIMST as they had asked the officials several times if the scheduled meeting can be held as Covid-19 was spreading. The officials said there were no issues and the meeting went ahead.
And now along with Muraleedharan, the district BJP leaders who had accompanied the Minister to the SCTIMST have also decided to stay in isolation.
"The Union Minister made a courtesy visit to the director's office on March 14 forenoon. He was met by only two officials from the institute and two from the technology wing... none of them had any contact with the affected doctor for months. The director's office is in a separate building away from the Hospital. The Union Minister did not visit the hospital.
"The affected doctor was on home quarantine during this time and had not tested positive in his first screening test. The deputy director's quarantine period had ended during the Minister's visit. The director has had no contact with the affected doctor in the last one year and has not held any meeting in which the affected person attended," said the statement.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, after hearing about what happened in the Central institute expressed his ire and said that such a thing should never have happened.
Following this goof up by the authorities that led to even a Union Minister getting indisposed, action is likely against the wrong doers.
The doctor who tested coronavirus positive had returned from Spain on March 1 and reported for duty from March 2 onwards.
On March 8, he developed a sore throat and wore a mask while attending to his duties, including seeing patients on March 10 and 11. On March 12, he was directed to be kept in isolation after Spain got included in the list of nations affected by Covid-19. On March 14, he was made to undergo a repeat test for coronavirus, which came out positive on Sunday.
This institute, of late has been in the news for the wrong reasons after there have been differences of opinion between the senior staff members.
To sort out issues, their parent department has constituted a three member team to probe into the various issues that have cropped up and this major goof up came in this time only.