SKIMS hushing up swine flu deaths, says DAK

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Srinagar—Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday said authorities at SK Institute of Med­ical Sciences (SKIMS) are hushing up swine flu deaths and cases.

“That puts the whole population at risk of a deadly outbreak,” said President DAK and flu expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a communiqué.

“While it is mandatory to re­port and inform public about these deaths and cases, health officials are concealing them,” he said.

DAK President said a middle-aged woman who was working as Warden at Government Polytechnic College for Women died due to swine flu in­fection at SKIMS on November 01.

“Neither the family nor the col­lege was informed about the cause of death, he said adding the death certificate issued had no mention of swine flu.”

Dr Nisar said it was only after the principal of the college up­loaded a Facebook post that people came to know about it.

He said the cover up continued until officials at SKIMS bowed to media pressure and disclosed the information.

Dr Nisar said the officials were aware about the implication of hiding it, yet they suppressed the information.

“This is not only unethical but criminal ,” he said

Dr Nisar said other four deaths were also made public by news­papers only with the help of their sources in the hospital.

He added even the doctors and staff dealing with these patients are not informed about the posi­tive cases.That means not only the vulnerable patients but staff also are put at risk.

Dr Nisar said this season’s swine flu virus has mutated and is behaving unusually attacking healthier individuals.

He said health authorities should have stepped up surveil­lance and made regular updates public. But we have no idea about the number of flu cases as they are not reported leaving public igno­rant of potentially deadly threat.

Dr Nisar said it is unfortunate that health officials are downplay­ing the threat which is looming over.

“In 2015 also, they concealed the cases that resulted in an outbreak and killed a score of patients,” he said.

“Timely reporting of flu cases is essential to prevent the spread of disease and save lives.That way people can take precautions and protect themselves and folks around them,” said Dr Nisar.

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