The high death rate caused due to H1N1 virus reported at MY Hospital has got nothing to do with the quality of health services being provided at the hospital, but is with the late referral of patients from private and district hospitals, claim senior doctors at MY Hospital.
In a recent analysis report submitted to the principal secretary health, it was also concluded that 66% of the deaths which happened at MY Hospital, occurred within 48 hours of the patient getting admitted giving the doctors very less time to administer proper treatment. It was also found that the majority of patients referred were in c-category (critical category) and had undergone treatment for eight-ten days at other hospitals. It is very difficult for patients to recover from swine flu if they are in the ‘c’ category, while chances of survival are high in ‘a’ and ‘b’ category patients.
“It was found that the recovery rate of the patients at MY Hospital was 52% while at private hospitals it was 54%. The difference is not there, but the deaths have been caused due to the referral of the patients at a very later stage to keep their records clean,” said Dr AD Bhatnagar, superintendent of MY Hospital.
While private hospitals were to be blamed for some additions to it, it was also found that a large number of deaths were a result of referrals from district hospitals of nearby areas without proper medical facilities. “We had patients belonging to different districts being referred to MY Hospital. They were extremely critical and had a very low oxygen rate,” said Dr Sanjay Dixit, vice dean of MGM Medical College.
Oxygen rate refers to the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood. Normally, it varies between 95 and 100, but in case of critical patients it comes down to as low as 40 per cent. He added, “After already undergoing treatment for ten days, it becomes difficult to revive a patient who has an oxygen rate of 30%,” added Dr Dixit.
The entire expenditure of treating a patient at a private hospital after he is put on ventilator also comes down to Rs 10,000-20,000, which is another reason for the transfer to government hospitals. “When the financial resources are exhausted and the private hospitals cannot extract money from the family, referral is openly encouraged. MY Hospital provides free treatment at all levels to H1N1 patients. It was another prime reason for transfers,” said Dr Bhatnagar.
Moreover, it was also found that the health seeking behaviour and the health provider behaviour was very different in a huge chunk. For the first five days the patients did not report their symptoms, the next two days they were not treated for swine flu by their local doctor, in all a delay in the medical approach was seen.
Meanwhile Dr GL Sodhi, in-charge of integrated diseases surveillance project mentioned that a circular was also issued to hospitals advising them not to refer patients after a certain decline in the health of the patient.
Meanwhile, 47 fresh suspected swine flu patients and three swine flu positive cases were reported in Bhopal on Wednesday, taking the total figure of positive H1N1 patients since January 1 to around 610.
Death of a woman at a private hospital from swine flu was also reported, on Wednesday, but health officials told HT that her confirmed report will come on Thursday.