Too many turning up for tests, labs falling short
Srinagar: The Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura has received hundreds of suspected H1N1 influenza patients while two deaths have occurred at the hospital in three days due to the virus.
According to officials, a 20-year-old pregnant woman from Budgam died on Tuesday and dozens of suspects are awaiting test results due to the shortage of labs.
“The 20-year-old pregnant woman from Budgam was tested positive for H1N1 last week and she died today morning due to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome,” Medical Superintendent of SKIMS Soura, Dr Amin Tabish, told Kashmir Reader.
The woman’s death raised the toll to two deaths in the past three days at the hospital due to H1N1. The deaths have spread panic among the other patients, especially as there are no sufficient testing facilities at SKIMS.
Dr Tabish said there was no need to panic, as of the many suspected cases received at the hospital in the past week, only three tested positive.
“A male patient from Budgam had died last week while another female was treated successfully and sent back home. Though many people are dropping in the hospital, creating a burden on the facility, but we are prepared to handle any exigency,” he said.
According to him, SKIMS has already opened an isolation ward. However, there is no one admitted there yet, he said.
Sources at the hospital said that lack of vaccination creates fear of the virus among people, and that labs are not enough for handling many patients at a time, thereby making the diagnosis difficult.
“In normal days, the lab would test only 8 to 10 samples in a week. However, during panic situation, around 50 samples come in a day,” said a senior medico at SKIMS.
Suspected cases are also coming to other tertiary-care hospitals including SMHS, CD hospital, Lal Ded hospital, and GB Pant hospital.
“We have tested many patients with H1N1-like symptoms in a month. However, no one has been tested positive,” said Dr Naveed Nazir, HoD of Chest Medicine department.
Other hospitals, especially GB Pant and SMHS, are facing problems because the lab established at CD Hospital is unable to send them test reports on time.
Amid rising cases of swine flu patients, the government is also unable to devise a strategy due to delay in confirmation of reports of H1N1 from SKIMS and CD Hospital, where the testing laboratories have been set up.
“Now doctors have asked many people to get the tests done at private labs, which puts extra burden on gullible people,” said an administrator.