Is SKIMS tweaking facts on H1N1 deaths? 

Srinagar: With three more deaths being reported due to N1H1 infection, the tertiary care hospital Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical sciences has been caught on the wrong foot again. The hospital has witnesses 11 deaths this season so far.

The much hype created about the state-of-art facilities available at SKIMS to deal with H1N1 cases are turning flat on ground as the isolation ward kept specially for the infected patients is not being run as per the set protocols.

Sources said that at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, medicos are mingling H1N1 patients with those who are only carrying on with the symptoms of H1N1, but are not medically proven H1N1 positive.

“This phenomenon is adding to the possibilities for those who are not infected to catch the deadly infection,” said the source.

Whenever any patient with the symptoms of H1N1 is brought to the hospital, the patient is directly shifted to the main isolation room of the hospital, which is adding to the chances of the patient catching the infection, in case the situation is other way round, sources said.

As per the guidelines approved by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), USA, what is happening at SKIMS is a grave violation of protocols set internationally.

“When a private room is not available, an infected patient is placed with an appropriate roommate. Patients infected by the same microorganism usually can share a room,” the guidelines state, adding “provided they are not infected with other potentially transmissible microorganisms and the likelihood of re-infection with the same organism is minimal.”

As per guidelines, it is very important to consider the epidemiology and mode of transmission of the infecting pathogen and the patient population being served in determining patient placement. Under these circumstances, consultation with infection control professionals is advised before patient placement.

Moreover, the guidelines say that when an infected patient shares a room with a non-infected patient, it also is important that patients, personnel, and visitors take precautions to prevent the spread of infection and that roommates are selected carefully, however, what is happening at SKIMS is the random selection of patients who are not even medically confirmed cases of H1N1 with those who are clear cases of H1N1.

As per guidelines, appropriate patient placement is a significant component of isolation precautions. A private room is important to prevent direct- or indirect-contact transmission when the source patient has poor hygienic habits, contaminates the environment, or cannot be expected to assist in maintaining infection control precautions to limit transmission of microorganisms (i.e., infants, children, and patients with altered mental status).

Importantly, the SKIMS administration has been justifying the deaths by saying that the majority of the deaths caused due H1N1were having associated comorbidities, but there also, the hospital has been caught violating the guidelines in case of patients whose immunity stands compromised due to several other diseases.

“Immunocompromised patients vary in their susceptibility to nosocomial infections, depending on the severity and duration of immunosuppression. They generally are at increased risk for bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral infections from both endogenous and exogenous sources,” CDCP guidelines state.

At SKIMS, after getting to know that the patient is immunocompromised, is also kept in the same isolation ward, which again is increasing the risk of catching the infection, thus leading to deaths of such patients, which are swiftly justified by the hospital administration.

The officials at SKIMS could not be contacted for their comments on the issue, while as Medical Superintendent SKIMS, Dr. Syed Amin Tabish was said be on leave.

Pertinently, 11 deaths have been reported due to H1N1 infection. Till Thursday 8 deaths were reported however, three more died yesterday taking the toll to 11 while as three more patients are said to be in a critical condition.


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