A 48-year old doctor at Sewri TB hospital in Mumbai who has been diagnosed with a highly resistant form of tuberculosis revealed that he will have to return to work at the hospital thanks to BMC's leave policy.
The doctor revealed that he has worked at the hospital for more than 20 years before contracting the extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB infection. He has been on leave for the past three months but BMC's leave policy of allowing doctors diagnosed with TB just six months of leave means that he will have to return to the same environment even though two years of compulsory treatment.
The doctors said that he first contracted the disease in 2011 but continued to work at the hospital, treating over 30 multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB patients every day, without taking any leave even as he completed his six-month drug course. He was later contracted with MDR infection in 2012 and took medication to treat the condition and when his sputum tested negative for the second time he went back to work.
"When I contracted the disease the first time, I took good care of myself and completed my course. I asked for three months special leave to finish the entire treatment, but the authorities never granted it. Then I contracted MDR in 2012 and was again denied leave. I even exhausted my regular leave, but that was not enough. I was working continuously at another BMC TB clinic in Dockyard. I was seeing over 30 MDR and XDR TB cases per day", he said, adding that he was very weak and needed at least a year's leave to get well but is not sure that he will be granted the leave, though he added that he does not want to work at the department again even if his leave application is accepted.