Medico body blames SKIMS for hushing up swine flu deaths

 Srinagar: After several deaths caused by swine flu were reported from the Valley’s tertiary care hospital SKIMS, medico body Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) alleged that authorities in the hospital were suppressing facts and trying to hush up the swine flu deaths and cases.

“This  attitude puts the whole population at risk of a deadly outbreak,” President DAK and Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued here.

He said that while it is mandatory to report and inform public about these deaths and cases, health officials are concealing them.

He said that 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 ,” the DAK President 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 the staff also are put at risk,” the DAK President cautioned.

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 Hassan added.

He 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 advised the DAK President.

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