Now, 6 SKIMS doctors test positive for H1N1

Staffers ask: ‘Where did vaccines meant for us go?’

Zehru Nissa
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 15 2017 12:16AM | Updated Date: Nov 15 2017 12:16AM
Now, 6 SKIMS doctors test positive for H1N1Representational Pic

At least six doctors working at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences here have tested positive for the H1N1 influenza, an official source said on Tuesday.

The source said that those who have tested positive for the H1N1 are mostly resident doctors who were performing their duties in “high-risk areas”—the intensive care unit and the isolation ward.

“One of these doctors who was very sick had to be admitted and is currently undergoing treatment,” the source said.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, some resident doctors on duty expressed anger over absence of any mechanism or facilities to protect them against infections. The doctors, who wished not to be named, said that the hospital administration was “playing” with their lives.

“Neither any personal protection gear nor any vaccines on subsidy are being made available to us,” they said.

A doctor said that it was due to lack of protection that some of his colleagues contacted the influenza from patients they were treating.

“We are not even being provided the masks recommended for healthcare workers in contact with the H1N1 patients despite our repeated requests. All we have is simple masks and that is exposing us to risks,” the senior resident said.

While some doctors said that they got vaccinated on their own outside the hospital, a majority of paramedics and doctors said that it was the responsibility of the hospital to do so given the costs involved.

Another doctor said that the hospital administration had recently procured some 50 influenza vaccines meant for the staff working in high-risk areas. However, none of the staff members got the vaccine, he said.

“It should be probed what happened to those vaccines. There is a talk heard around that these vaccines were selectively given to people close to higher administration who were given a ‘special slip’ to be shown at pharmacy counters for taking the vaccines,” the source said.

A number of senior doctors at the hospital expressed concern over what they called “mismanagement of the situation.”

“It is a catastrophe in the making. Why didn’t the administration plan for protection of doctors and paramedics in advance when they knew that the staff working in high risk areas could be vulnerable?” a senior faculty member asked.

Medical superintendent SKIMS, Dr S Amin Tabish confirmed that “some” doctors had tested positive for H1N1. “But they are under treatment and are getting better,” he said.

He said that the hospital was in the process of procuring vaccines and “one consignment” had been kept available at the hospital pharmacy last week.

Asked who were given those vaccines, he said, “I don’t have that information.”