Swine flu scare takes toll on SKIMS docs, paramedics
Srinagar, Jan 3: Even after swine-flu claimed lives of two persons and infected three doctors at SK Institute of Medical Sciences Soura, the valley’s premier tertiary care hospital administration, is not putting in place adequate safeguards for its staff, including doctors and paramedics who are treating those infected with the deadly flu.
Right from the entrance of the Hospital, the arrangements as apparent to this Greater Kashmir reporter indicated that the there were no fool-proof measures in place to prevent the spread of Swine Flu.
Not only the patients but most of the medicos and paramedics were without the face masks—a basic tool for prevention of the disease.
The main entrance leads into the day-care centre which has been turned into “isolation ward,” but its locked gate revealed that it’s non-functional.
It shares the corridor with emergency operation theatre, emergency ward and the general observation ward which are visited by hundreds of people everyday. However, the isolation ward is just at an arms length from the emergency operation theatre, an indication of the safety measures.
“Senior doctors showed much resentment on converting this day care ward into isolation ward but to no avail. There was a apprehension that its location wasn’t suitable for the purpose,” doctors said.
The room was used for giving chemotherapy to patients especially to carcinoma patients who were left no where to go due to the change over.
“They have been assured that they will be given the treatment in the disaster management ward but the space there is inadequate for the process. The conversion has been frustrating for the patients,” they added.
Moving little ahead on the right is general observation ward that leads to the initially used isolation ward—disaster management room.
A side room which normally serves as a change room for paramedics is having three suspected swine flu patients. These include, paramilitary trooper and a woman.
“This side room has few beds which were placed as a make shift arrangement. The pathway to the room passes through here which gives an idea of our protection against swine flu,” said a paramedic working close to the make shift isolation room in general observation ward.
He was without a mask.
On the second floor is the Surgical Intensive Care Unit where a 20-year-old girl from Ganderbal died of swine flu. She was the first swine flu death reported from SKIMS.
However, the arrangements here are no better.
Inside the ICU, paramedics said, the swine flu patients were sharing ventilators with other routine patients. “And the swine flu patients aren’t even isolated to one corner of the ICU. It is a grave threat to 10 other patients in the room and doctors and paramedics who are treating them.”
A woman, who was confirmed swine flu last week, was also under going treatment at the ICU.
Paramedics said a patient in the ICU suffering from cardiac ailments was suspected of swine flu.
“He passed away last evening. He was on bed and was suspected of swine flu,” they said.
The hospital staff working here are without masks and, according to them, none was put on prophylaxis after the girl had died.
The concerned SKIMS doctors and paramedics, sources said, have at times preferred to remain away from the wards.
The masks could prevent us from being infected but what about how clothes and body parts where the virus may be, said a senior faculty.
“Everyday I go home my family members ask me to stay away from them. We are meted with a same treatment in hostels also as our colleagues prefer distance from us,” said a nurse, wishing anonymity, in the post operative ward in proximity of the ICU.
Pertinently, two swine flu deaths have been reported from SKIMS.
The victim, besides the girl, was a 45- year old businessman had died around a fortnight back.
The Ganderbal girl was under treatment in the same ICU while as the businessman allegedly died for want of ventilator in a general ward.
Two senior doctors and a resident doctor at SKIMS have tested positive for the flu. All of them have been home quarantined.
“Conformation of swine flu in two more doctors on Friday panicked one and all in the hospital. We are reluctant to move around in the hospital,” said a senior Doctor, adding there weren’t enough masks and preventive equipments available in the hospital.
“The hospital has now invited tenders for masks and other logistics to the hospital and that is after three months since the first swine flu case was detected in Kashmir,” they said.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Jan 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Jan 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Jan 2010 00:00:00 IST
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