Panic gripped at the at SMHS hospital Thursday after hospital authorities allowed shifting of a swine-flu positive patient into hospital’s Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU).
Attendants of admitted patients (critically ill non-H1N1) criticized the shifting of a female H1N1 positive and critical patient, leaving them apprehensive the attendants and patients were susceptible of catching swine flu virus.
Gowhar Bashir Mir, of Rainawari, who attended his relative, recovering from brain haemorrhage there are two patients and they are in the ICU from a month.
“We were left in a panic when the swine flu patient was taken to the ICU and put in the same unit,” said Mir who is fearful that the two patients might catch the virus as H1N1 circulates as a seasonal flu virus leaving him infuriated.
“It was better to shift the patient to SKIMS which has a separate place for such patients. The patient must be on the isolated ventilator. We asked them but they are helpless,” he said.
As per Mir, many doctors visited the unit and told them that the H1N1 positive patient can’t be put like this with other patient compelling them to call the hospital’s administration.
“The MICU is a 10/12 room. There is every possibility of catching the virus to a normal person leave alone ill patients. It is an administrative lapse and hospital authorities must bear the responsibility if our patients catch the virus,” he said.
Mir said that attendants cannot go inside the unit and demand that the swine flu patient is shifted and held hospital administration responsible if any untoward happens.
According to attendants the patients is blue-eyed and has been admitted at the ward on the directions of a senior doctor. “We can’t escape from their attendants too.”
The attendant also said that even doctors are apprehensive and “we also do not have precautionary measures as the patients’ attendants touch us, belongings and blankets.”
Medical Superintendent SMHS, Dr Saleem Tak said the admitted patients weren’t at risk of catching the virus—saying patients are at closed respiratory circuit.
“Patients are on ventilator and there is no chance of spread of virus. The H1N1 patient needs intensive care. Other patients don’t have any risk. The doctors have been given personal protection gears,” he said adding there is no need to panic.
Two more H1N1 positive cases have been put in the hospital’s isolation ward and they are being treated from the past week.
At SMHS patients with life-threatening ailments are already at risk as GMC Srinagar authorities have failed to upgrade Intensive Care Units (ICUs) over the years.
“It has two ICUs, one has 8 and another 7 beds. These haven’t been upgraded. There is no separate ICU for H1N1 patients despite being a multispecialty hospital,” said a doctor.
A source at GMC said that it has also failed to start the isolation ward at Chest Disease Hospital, Dalgate which is facing manpower issues.
Seven patients have died this season at SKIMS to the seasonal virus which started in early Oct. while the number of patients tested positive is increasing in hospitals due to cold.