Anantnag, June 2: Day after Government Medical College (GMC) Anantnag authorities informed the Lieutenant Governor that the hospital was equipped with 40 ICU beds, the government today deputed a committee to ascertain the facts.
“The committee was formed on the directions of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, PK Pole,” an official said.
He said the panel consists of Dr. Waseem Qureshi Academic Registrar GMC Srinagar, Dr. Showkat Gurkoo senior professor SKIMS, Deputy Director Health Dr Bashir Chalkoo, Dr Sajad Nazir, a senior neurologist GMC Srinagar.
The team was accompanied by additional deputy commissioner Anantnag, Sheikh Ghulam Hassan.
On Tuesday LG Manoj Sinha and Divisional Commissioner during their visit to the hospital to review of Covid situation was informed by the Principal of the college, Dr Showkat Jeelani, that the hospital was equipped with 40 ICU beds.
The same was carried by the information department in their daily bulletin.
However, the claim drew flak on social media with people questioning the hospital authorities for misleading the government.
The Greater Kashmir has been carrying a series of stories that the hospital is devoid of life support systems with ICU virtually defunct and the four odd beds available only provide non-invasive ventilation.
The patients needing invasive ventilation were earlier referred to Srinagar hospitals; however, as the second Covid wave intensified, due to non-availability of beds many patients died for want of life support.
“The fact finding team reached the hospital in the afternoon and straightaway went into the ICU to find the truth about claims of the Principal,” an official said.
He said the committee found the hospital actually provides non-invasive support via a few high end ventilators, low-end ones allotted through PM Cares last year when the pandemic broke out and Bi-Pap machines.
“Many of the low-end ventilators were not used due to lack of proper ICU,” the team learned.
“How can you claim that we have a 40 bedded ICU when you can’t provide invasive ventilation and when none of the patients have been intubated so far,” an official asked.
An official said the team will be submitting its report to Div Com today only.
A medic said that when the second wave of Covid intensified there were initially no beds available for the patients in Srinagar, leaving the doctors helpless.
“Many of the patients who could have been saved by providing invasive ventilation, died in the isolation ward of GMC Anantnag,” the medic said.
He said there was no ICU bed available in the hospital for Covid infected patients, despite it being a level two tertiary care facility.
On April, 24 Shahzada Bano wife of Manzoor Ahmad Ghazi, aged 68, of Kadipora locality of the old town admitted to the hospital also lost the battle to Covid for want of ventilator support.
Bano was admitted to the hospital on April 16.
She needed non-invasive ventilator support but there was no bed available in any of the tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar and she finally died in the isolation ward. Later a 35-year-old woman, Shabnum, and her 65-year-old mother-in-law, Mehbooba, from Bakshiabad locality of Anantnag town also died for want of proper high flow oxygen and life support.
Similarly, another woman, and her mother-in-law from Harnag village of Anantnag died in the hospital on May 13 due to same reasons.
“We have so many patients needing non-invasive and invasive ventilator support, but we are helpless,” another medic said.
Principal GMC Anantnag Dr Showkat Jeelani has earlier maintained that the hospital has a fully equipped ICU facility for Covid patients too.
But the official bulletin of JK Government on Covid-19 has been mentioning none of the designated beds in GMC Anantnag as ICU ones.
MS of the hospital has also admitted that the hospital has no ICU Bed for Covid infected patients and that they have been managing severely sick Covid patients on bi-pap (bi-level positive pressure ventilation). The authorities have in the past also admitted that the dearth of anesthesiologists and trained nursing staff has been the reason for virtually defunct life support in the hospital.