SKIMS Negligence Spreads Swine Flu Among Cancer Patients  

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SRINAGAR — The negligence of SKIMS authorities by giving free access to attendants to the H1N1 ward as well admitting the Swine flu patients to the emergency ward has spread the disease among others including the cancer patients. Due to swine flu some cancer patients who de­veloped the disease at the hospital have died in last few days. Fourty seven year old Mushtaq Ahmad Dar of Zampakadal, Chattabal, Srinagar, is the latest one who died at the hos­pital due to the swine flu. Suffering from blood cancer, he was admitted at the hospital on December 24, but died on 10 January due to the swine flu. His nephew, Advocate Shujaul Haq, said he contracted swine flu at the hospital only. He said that at the oncology ward where he was admit­ted some patients including a one who had an ovary cancer was also referred to the H1N1 ward recently.

“There are no separate treatment facilities for the cancer patients. They are being admitted in the emergency. Since their immunity remains poor, they are the first ones to contract the disease. Our uncle was not having any swine flu, he contracted this at the hospital,” he said. The SKIMS authorities Friday said two more people have died due to the swine flu here taking the death toll to 11 in the last few days. But the patients and their atten­dants said that their number could be more. “It is an epidemic here,” said an attendant, seeking that after a “screening” of the patients isola­tion wards should be designated for the H1N1 cases.

Two deaths each have been re­ported at the SKIMS and Shri Maha­raja Pratap Hari Singh (SMHS) hos­pital here on Friday. Seven patients are still admitted at the SKIMS and SMHS. Authorities of SKIMS admit­ted that two patients have died on Friday raising the toll at the hospital to 9. The patients were 55 and 75 years old and thus succumbed due to their “low immune system.”

Advocate Shuja-ul-Haq, said that “a separate ward for the H1N1” pa­tients has access of all the “people.” “The swine flu ward shouldn’t have any access of attendants,” he said.

After the deaths now doctors have asked people to bear caution and report to the medical centres in the event of symptoms of the dis­ease. Doctors admitted that there are many deaths due to H1N1 virus which don’t get reported. “H1N1 patients die because either they are not diagnosed in time or they are not suspected of carrying the vi­rus,” said a doctor, adding that the authorities don’t issue alerts about the disease from time to time. “There is no alert issued by the health department here. Authori­ties should make people aware about H1N1 symptoms so that they start taking precautions.”

The SKIMS authorities have not learnt any lessons. The situation was worse last year when over 30 swine flu deaths were reported at SKIMS between October 2017 to February 2018. Apart from the H1N1 infec­tions, people had also tested posi­tive for the H2N3 strain of the virus.

H1N1 flu is also known as swine flu because of its origin being as­sociated with direct contact of hu­mans with pigs. However, the virus in the recent past has also been re­ported in people who have had no contact with pigs.

Meanwhile at the SMHS hospital, authorities have admitted lack of ventilators. A four-bedded ward at the hospitals keeps new admissions, but attendants complained lack of ventilators. A patient was kept on an Ambu Bag, a basic device used to assist breathing, for three days and was shifted to a medical ICU venti­lator only when a patient was dis­charged on Thursday.

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