Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

A Hundred Lives Lost: Doctor Deaths in India During the Times of COVID-19

Version 1 : Received: 15 July 2020 / Approved: 16 July 2020 / Online: 16 July 2020 (08:28:55 CEST)

How to cite: Jayadevan, R. A Hundred Lives Lost: Doctor Deaths in India During the Times of COVID-19. Preprints 2020, 2020070346 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0346.v1). Jayadevan, R. A Hundred Lives Lost: Doctor Deaths in India During the Times of COVID-19. Preprints 2020, 2020070346 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0346.v1).

Abstract

Background: Over 900,000 cases of COVID-19 and 23,000 deaths have been reported till 13 July in India. Preserving the limited healthcare workforce is part of the strategy against the pandemic. Mortality and morbidity data have a role in customising this strategy. At this time, there is no published study on COVID-related mortality among doctors or other healthcare workers in India. Methods: A multi-pronged search was made for all reported deaths linked with COVID-19 among doctors in India. Details of COVID-linked deaths reported by mainstream media and by multiple professional social media sources were collected, screened, verified and analysed. Violent deaths occurring in the setting of pandemic-related work were separately listed. Deaths from other diseases were excluded. Results: Among 108 COVID-linked deaths among doctors, there were four pandemic-related violent deaths including three road accidents and a suicide. Of the 104 non-violent deaths, 55.5% were below 60 years of age, while 29.6% and 21% were below the age of 50 and 40 respectively. The average age at death was 56.3 (range 22 - 96). Over half of the deaths occurred among general practitioners, while surgical specialties accounted for 27% of the mortality. The geographic distribution of deaths of doctors correlated with the reported number of COVID-19 patients in each state. The total number of COVID-related healthcare worker deaths was 136, out of which eight (5.8%) were violent, and occurred in young individuals with an average age of 27.8 years. Conclusions: The majority of the 104 COVID-related non-violent deaths among doctors (55.5%) occurred below the age of 60. The average at death was 56.6 years. The states with highest number of COVID-19 cases had greater number of doctor deaths. Violent deaths among young healthcare workers in the setting of the pandemic requires special attention.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; deaths; doctor; nurse; pharmacist; healthcare worker; frontline; occupational risk; suicide; violent death; accident; pandemic; SARS-CoV-2

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