2 patients fight for survival without life support at GMC Anantnag

On April 10, Gul Muhammad, 60, from Moominabad locality of this south Kashmir town was admitted at Government Medical College Anantnag after complaining of breathlessness.

He was suffering from bilateral pneumonia and was initially put on high-flow oxygen (350 Lpm).

However, after being diagnosed of type-2 respiratory failures, Muhammad was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and provided non-invasive ventilator support.

His samples returned negative for coronavirus twice in succession.

However, Muhammad's condition kept deteriorating.

After repeated tests, he finally turned to be COVID-19 positive.

Muhammad was immediately sent to isolation ward and needed life support but there was none available in the hospital for COVID-19 infected patients.

The doctors now were left with only one choice, referring the patient to a Srinagar hospital.

However, despite trying hard, the hospital management was not able to find a bed with a ventilator for this patient in any of the tertiary care hospitals.

Meanwhile, the chances of his survival are becoming bleak with each passing day.

"There is no separate ICU facility for COVID-infected patients. So, we are left with no option but to refer patients for even non-invasive ventilator support," a medic said.

He said the critical-care unit of the hospital is virtually defunct with only four beds available to run a few high-end ventilators.

"However, this ICU is unable to provide invasive ventilator support and the patient can't be intubated," a medic said.

He said that 24 low-end ventilators provided to the hospital last year when the pandemic broke were never put to use in absence of critical care unit and trained staff.

Gul Muhammad is not the only COVID-19 positive patient in the hospital needing ventilator support.

Shahzada Bano, 68, wife of Manzoor Ahmad, of Kadipora locality of old town admitted in the hospital is also battling for life in absence of life support.

"Bano was admitted at the hospital on April 16 and is also under treatment in the isolation ward of the hospital. She needs non-invasive ventilator support but we can't do anything," said a medic expressing helplessness.

Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr Muhamad Iqbal said that they were managing these on patients on bi-pap (bi-level positive pressure ventilation) for now.

"Whenever the patients need to be referred for invasive ventilator support, we get in touch with the nodal officer and arranges the beds in tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar," he said.

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