More than 50% of the e-passes issued were based on letters issued by doctors

There were persistent requests from people from other districts to visit Madurai for medical emergencies despite tight restrictions, said Collector T.G. Vinay here on Friday.

He said that patients not only from southern districts but also from central, west and northern parts of Tamil Nadu intended to visit here for consultation with specialists in cardiology and oncology for review cases and scans.

Those patients, who had undergone surgical intervention about two or three months back, had to visit the hospital here for a review. In some cases, they said there was no PET scan facility in their district. So they had to travel to Madurai, he said and added that due to the presence of many big hospitals in the city, there would be continuous movement.

More than 50% of the e-passes issued were based on letters issued by doctors. Officials do cross check with hospitals whether they had issued such letters in the name of persons seeking e-pass, Dr. Vinay clarified and said the hospitals, including Government Rajaji Hospital, had separate entry for non COVID-19 patients.

Vadamalayan Hospitals Managing Director V. Pugalagiri said people from Virudhunagar, Theni and other towns visited their hospital for chemotherapy and taking scans. “While on some occasions, our doctors issued letters and people who were regularly coming for treatment on a weekly/ fortnightly and monthly basis, showed the patient card and reached here by duly getting the e-pass,” he added.

Even if they were explained about the surge in COVID-19 cases in Madurai, people still preferred to meet the doctor in person, said cardiologist C. Vivek Bose of Bose Hospitals. “I do get frantic calls from people in southern districts. At least, five to six people from other stations call me for consultations and emergencies,” he said.

Doctors in Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre said only for emergencies and review of post-surgical cases, they issued letters to the patients for visiting the hospital.

Apollo Speciality Hospital Director Rohini Sridhar said they received 30 to 35 patients from many districts for periodic review by surgeons and for treatment in Oncology department. To enable the patients to travel by road, the hospital issued letters. “Patients undergoing radiotherapy have to necessarily come frequently. Hence, it cannot be postponed or avoided,” she added. Only very few departments took patients from other cities in view of the COVID-19 situation, she said.

An official at the e-pass issuance centre said from July 1 (5 p.m) to July 2 (5 p.m.), 412 applications were received from 30 districts across the State seeking e-pass for travel by road. As many as 746 patients had sought pass for themselves and accompanying attendant/driver. After verifications, the passes were issued.

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