Unaware of fresh arrangements, COVID19 patients run between hospitals

No direct admission to six tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar: Govt
File Photo [Image used for representational purpose only]
File Photo [Image used for representational purpose only]

Muhammad Yaqoob, a 45 year old resident of Srinagar was recuperating from COVID19 at home. An oxygen cylinder had been arranged by the family and he was taking the medicines that a doctor had prescribed over phone. However, on the fifth day of his testing positive, his saturation, despite oxygen support, dropped below 85 percent. That's when his family decided to take him to a hospital – a journey that did not end for the entire day.

Living in the vicinity of SMHS Hospital, the family entered the Emergency of this hospital with the patient, only to be told that without a referral, he would not be admitted. Yaqoob was taken to JLNM Hospital next. He again received the same reply. Panting, gasping, a cylinder attached to his body and the desperate urge to lie down and rest… the arduous journey did not end for the patient for the entire day.

Like him, many patients are finding themselves lost between the newly established networks of hospitals designated for COVID19 for want of awareness and guidance.

On 28 April, J&K Government issued orders for enforcing admission in tertiary care hospitals of Srinagar by "referral only". As per the Government, he step was much needed in view of the over burdening of these specialty hospitals with cases that could be managed at lower rung of hospitals. However, no step was taken to publicize the new arrangement.

As a result, a doctor working in Chest Diseases Hospital said, patients continue to beeline for these hospitals in hope of finding specialists for COVID19 there. "We have hundreds of patients reporting to us directly every day," a doctor at SMHS Hospital said adding that none of them is aware that the hospital cannot admit a patient directly now.

Many doctors have expressed the urgent need for making arrangements for consultation and intervention of COVID19 cases across every area. "People don't know what to do in case they test positive," a senior doctor said.

On Thursday, J&K Government ordered establishment of Triage Centers for COVID19 patients. SKIMS Medical College Hospital Bemina and NIT Campus Hazratbal were announced as "first point of contact" for patients in Srinagar. This, as per the order, is meant to streamline and optimize the use of beds in six tertiary care hospitals of Srinagar – SKIMS Soura, SMHS Hospital, Chest Diseases Hospital, Kashmir Nursing Home, JLNM Hospital and PHC Chanapora. Other districts have been ordered to take similar steps.

However, without publicizing these arrangements, doctors feel, patients will continue to be tossed between hospitals. 

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