COVID19: Doctors question shifting critically-ill patients to CD Hospital

The existing protocol to shift critically-ill patients, who test positive for COVID19 at different Srinagar hospital, to Chest Disease (CD) Hospital has come under question with doctors pointing the move could result in “compromised patient care.”

On Monday, three critically sick patients admitted at SMHS Hospital were shifted to CD Hospital, after they tested positive for COVID19.

The patients were admitted for cancer, sub-dural hemmorage and stroke. The patients died the same day they were shifted.

Following the deaths, head, department of pulmonology at GMC Srinagar flagged the protocol of shifting the patients to CD Hospital, a designated COVID19 facility.

The “patients basic disease is liable to get neglected” if they are shifted to Chest Diseases Hospital, just because they have tested positive for the infection, reads a communication from the HoD pulmonology to Principal Government Medcial College (GMC) Srinagar, Dr Saima Rashid.

The CD hospital and other health institutes including SMHS and B&J function under the administrative control of the GMC.

The communication written on May 19 records the seven patients, including the three patients who were shifted on Monday, were not having any respiratory symptom.

The letter seeks a separate isolation in SMHS Hospital for efficient care of such patients or deputing specialists from every specialty to the CD Hospital to provide specialist care.

A doctor working at the GMC said the shifting of the patients subjects the sick and their families to avoidable agony.

“Such patients are critically ill and battling for life. The least they need is an uncomfortable transport to a hospital where none of the doctors they were getting treated by would be available,” the doctor said.

The GMC Principal said isolation facilities have been set-up in all hospitals, including SMHS Hospital.

She said an entire building in the SMHS Hospital, the Community Health Cente, has been dedicated for isolation of COVID19 patients.

The Principal said some rooms, located in isolation at the hospital have also been dedicated for the COVID19 patients.

At Lal Ded Hospital, she said, two COVID19 positive patients were managed during the past three days. She said after it was known the patients were COVID19 positive were admitted in isolation of the hospital.

“It is not that we are shifting all people (to CD Hospital),” she said.

However, she said the hospitals were under duress due to patients who are admitted as non-COVIDD19 and later test positive for the viral infection.

“Four of our doctors tested positive the other day. Even today, our doctors at LD Hospital have been sent to quarantine,” she said.

She said the shifting of patients to one facility was meant to reduce chances of infection to patients and healthcare workers in other hospitals.

Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo said shifting of the critically ill patients who have tested positive for COVID19 positive needs a “review.”

“I have spoken to Principal GMC Srinagar and she will have a look at it,” Dullo said.

He said shifting of critical patients also made the deaths “look like COVID19 deaths.” “Many patients are very sick with other ailments and die of those diseases,” he said.

He said a new protocol would need to be devised for critically ill patients. “We are at it,” he said.