12 COVID19 suspected patients huddled in single ambulance for testing

Representational Pic

In violation of protocol, the hospital authorities in southern Kashmir’s Shopian district Tuesday huddled 12 suspected coronavirus positive persons from two families in a single ambulance to take them for testing to GMC Anantnag hospital.

The doctors at the GMC Antnang initially turned them back saying the patients from that area can’t be tested there. However, their samples were taken later in the day only after the intervention of district administration.

Among the 12 suspected cases, three were women and four children. One family member from each family had flown in the same flight that had on board the first COVID-19 positive patient of Kashmir, a lady from Srinagar.

So far at least five persons from Shopian who had arrived in the same flight from Saudi Arabia with that woman, according to doctors, have tested positive that too after completing the necessary quarantine period.

“We were bundled in one ambulance and then taken here for testing. But the doctors there refused to take our samples,” said one of the family members.

He said the hospital authorities asked them to go to Pulwama district hospital for testing. “We reached here in the morning and till 5 pm the hospital authorities were yet to decide about our testing,” said another member.

A doctor wishing anonymity told Greater Kashmir that this was sheer negligence on the part of hospital authorities in Shopian. “According to the set protocol, any suspect patient from Shopian has to be taken to Pulwama district hospital for testing. Only suspects from Anantnag and Kulgam can be tested in GMC Anantnag. But the hospital administration by packing them in a single ambulance and then sending them here has put to risk many lives,” he said.

“What if any of these persons tests positive for the infection,” the doctor asked. “This is a violation of protocol and can very easily lead to the cross-infection”

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Ramesh refused to talk on the issue.

Deputy Chief Medical officer (CMO) Shopian, Dr Rubina said she would look into the issue of bundling all suspect patients in a single ambulance. However, she added the tests of these patients have been conducted after the intervention of the district administration.

Principal GMC Anantnag Dr. Showkat Jeelani also confirmed the tests of these suspected patients from Shopian were done after following set procedures.

“The availability of testing kits might be the reason that the patients were not taken to the Pulwama hospital for testing,” he said.