With a young lady succumbing to H1N1 on Friday, the swine flu death toll in Kashmir has reached five.
According to a SKIMS communiqué, two people had died of flu on Thursday and 96 tested positive till Friday afternoon. The hospital authorities said 12 persons tested positive for H1N1 today.
According to SKIMS authorities, 15 patients had been admitted at SKIMS for H1N1 treatment. However, sources revealed that the number of admitted patients till Friday evening was 13 and included two pediatric patients.
A SKIMS doctor wishing anonymity revealed that the young lady, who passed away today, had Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and was suspected of having H1N1.
Stakeholders are concerned at the acute shortage of vaccines hitting Kashmir and simultaneous spurt in cases of H1N1.
"The lady who died on Friday had malignancy and suddenly developed symptoms of H1N1. The pregnant woman's unfortunate death on Thursday was confirmed to be caused by H1N1.
The 60 year old woman who died on Tuesday was also a high risk category. All of these deaths could have been prevented if they had been vaccinated in time," a Professor of Medicine at SKIMS told Greater Kashmir.
"Vaccine shortage is a major challenge. We have not received any supplies for the past many days due to inclement weather and air-traffic disturbances," Dr Farooq Jan, Medical Superintendent SKIMS said.
He said the hospital has placed an order for 80000 Tamiflu capsules of which 6000 have been received. "A consignment of 4000 masks has reached Srinagar airport. We also have some old stock which we are using judiciously," he said.
However, when contacted, the staff on duty in SKIMS said, "There are 48 medicos running the emergency department and only two of them are immunized. There are a handful of masks. It is alarming that not even the staff on duty in the 'isolation ward' was given masks."
The staff revealed that they went to MS to ask for masks and other protective gear but were asked to make do with surgical masks.
Meanwhile, Resident Doctors Association of SKIMS staged a protest outside SKIMS demanding adequate safety consumables for the staff.
The protestors expressed concern for the medical fraternity, which they said, was getting infected becoming a source of infection for their patients as well as families.
Resident Doctors Association SMHS and associated hospitals expressed shock at the plan of having an isolation ward adjacent to Multiple Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB) Isolation Ward. "MDR TB is more dangerous than H1N1.
How can the authorities risk lives of patients like this," DrAdil Ashraf, spokesperson RDA SMHS and Allied Hospitals said.
"Till now there has not been made any provision of taking throat swabs in the CD hospital, Just adding to the woes of the patients who are tossed between SMHS, CD and SKIMS," Dr Ashraf said.
Spokesperson RDA SMHS and Allied Hospitals also expressed concern at the alleged misbehavior of MS SMHS with resident doctors.
Meanwhile, authorities suspended all class and practical work at SKIMS Medical College for 10 days beginning Friday.
A notice issued by SKIMS Medical College on Friday reads, "As directed by Principal/Director SKIMS…. the class work (theory and practical) shall remain suspended for a period of 10 days, w.e.f. 21-02-2015."