Coun­cil against den­tists in Covid wards

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTSPOTLIGH­T - Rhythma Kaul & Harikr­ish­nan Nair let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

NEWDELHI: The Den­tal Coun­cil of In­dia (DCI) has is­sued an ad­vi­sory to all state gov­ern­ments, dean of den­tal col­leges and state den­tal coun­cils, ask­ing them not to post den­tists in coro­n­avirus wards. The Union health min­istry has asked states to make use of den­tal doc­tors in man­ag­ing Covid-19 in the field, if re­quired.

The DCI ad­vi­sory said den­tists should only be used for non-med­i­cal work, such as pre-screen­ing, record­ing case history and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of vul­ner­a­ble age groups, com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, con­tact trac­ing and pa­tient track­ing, and health fa­cil­ity in­fec­tion con­trol man­age­ment.

“…the DCI no­ticed that den­tists are be­ing posted in iso­la­tion wards to dis­charge their du­ties un­der COVID-19. The ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of the DCI, in its on­line meet­ing held on 13th May, 2020, has unan­i­mously de­cided to is­sue an ad­vi­sory to the ef­fect no den­tist/den­tal pro­fes­sional should be posted in iso­la­tion wards for COVID-19, which may put the pa­tient at risk,” wrote sec­re­tary, DCI, Dr Sabyasachi Saha, in his ad­vi­sory re­leased on Wed­nes­day.

The ad­vi­sory lists nine du­ties a den­tist may per­form. “MBBS doc­tors will al­ways be given first pref­er­ence, but in case of any emer­gency sit­u­a­tion then den­tists can also be uti­lized as they have a med­i­cal back­ground. We even have Ayush doc­tors in man­ag­ing Covid-19 , den­tists should be any day bet­ter equipped to han­dle pa­tients not se­verely ill,” says Dr KK Tal­war, for­mer direc­tor, PGI-Chandigarh.

A se­nior den­tal ex­pert in the govern­ment, how­ever, said den­tists should be de­ployed in Covid-19 wards only af­ter train­ing.

“When it comes to clin­i­cal skills, prac­tice mat­ters a lot. For ex­am­ple, an ICU nurse might be able to put an in­tra­venous line quicker than a doc­tor. They should be trained as den­tists don’t do these things on a reg­u­lar ba­sis,” he said, re­quest­ing not to be iden­ti­fied.

The All In­dia Oph­thal­mo­log­i­cal So­ci­ety (AIOS) also also re­leased its own set of guide­lines.

It al­lows elec­tive pro­ce­dures, in­clud­ing cataract surg­eries, in all ar­eas ex­cept con­tain­ment zones. It re­quires pa­tients to ac­knowl­edge risk of in­fec­tion at the treat­ment cen­tre. “Since con­junc­tivi­tis is re­ported as part of the dis­ease spec­trum of Covid-19 in China, all pa­tients with con­junc­tivi­tis should be Covid-19 sus­pects,” it read. It sought Covid-19 tests be ad­min­is­tered on those do­nat­ing corneas. “Tears have been shown to have the coro­n­avirus,” said Dr Mahipal Sachdeva, pres­i­dent, AIOS.

“That [con­sent ad­dresses ap­pre­hen­sions of com­mu­nity of doc­tors as any­one on Covid-19 duty is pro­tected un­der the Epi­demic Act. But oth­er­wise there is no pro­tec­tion in med­i­cal pro­fes­sion. Even or­gan donors have to be tested. We have writ­ten to govt to in­crease test­ing,” said Dr Ra­jan Sharma, pres­i­dent, In­dian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

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