At a time when the medical fraternity is advising society to avoid panic, they seem to have internalized the fear. SKIMS, the only facility having the basic capacity to manage the H1N1, is gradually emerging the epicenter of the fear that got cemented when almost seven doctors tested positive during mandatory testing.
Insiders said the medical personnel including doctors are supposed to get a preventive dose in anticipation of their deployment. Yes, sources said, they had it – almost 100 shots. They rationed it and obviously VIP docs got it first. But what could be interesting is that those who feel protected after the shots are rarely seen in the isolation ward!
Some staffers in the SKIMS said they were given simple masks and not the N95 which is mandatory.
It is panic in the hospital already. SKIMS authorities have restricted access to medicines ward (5) which includes lift access as well. Most of the patients admitted there have already been sent home, especially those from having diabetics or carrying a cardiology problem.
The problem is that in-patients are now requesting their doctors to send them home. That is the level of scare. Even the OPDs are reporting reduced footfalls.
Interesting aspect of the functioning is that patients report to OPD where they spend some time and are finally advised to go to the isolation ward set up in the Sarai complex where the collection centre exists. Till they are advised to approach the isolated facility, they stay with other patients increasing the threat of infection.
H1N1 test does not involve any blood sample. Instead, it requires collecting swabs either from throat or from nose. The processing takes it own time and then reporting adds to it. Then only the medication starts.
Insiders also confirm that H1N1 scare came all of a sudden for which nobody was ready. SKIMS testing facilities were part of a project dedicated for research purposes only. All of a sudden it was converted into a diagnostic lab that has limited output. Though the laboratory can manage 40 samples a day, SKIMS may have to send people out for testing it the demand doubles.
Sources in SKIMS administration said they have taken up the grey areas with the governor’s administration and will be addressed soon. There might be some problem in acquiring additional technical tools because Swine Flu fear across India has surged the demand for diagnostic tools, preventive systems and even medicine.
During the day, SKIMS spokesperson said 250 patients were seen on Friday 40 samples were collected for testing. There was no fresh death reported as 11 patients were admitted in isolation ward including one ventilator.
Besides, the spokesperson said they have received 4000 N95 masks and are in the process of receiving 6000 Tamiflu tablets. Since October 2014, 96 patients have tested H1N1 positive.
Some doctors speaking on condition of anonymity said though there are no chance of any epidemic, people should avoid panic. They suggested the people who have been contributing immensely in managing such situation must come forward. Even NGOs can keep certain basics like N95 masks available to people, even at a no-profit-no-loss basis, they said.
Meanwhile, SKIMS director conveyed Chief Secretary that no death due to swine flu was reported in last 24 hours and only 84 patients have tested positive so far. He said 32 bedded isolation ward is operational as SKIMS has Tamiflu Tablets available even as 6,000 more tablets are arriving by weekend. SKIMS has ordered 50,000 tablets and will be distributed to various hospitals of the state to augment their supplies.