Doctors, hospitals stressed in J&K amid Covid surge

Doctors say this year the percentage of young patients affected by Covid is more as compared to 2020
By Mir Ehsan and Ashiq Hussain, Srinagar
PUBLISHED ON APR 30, 2021 02:31 AM IST

With the surge in Covid cases continuing across J&K, doctors are under stress with the number of patients seeking hospitalisation increasing by the day.

The Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, Kashmir’s most advanced tertiary-care hospital, has 260 dedicated beds for Covid patients. However, they already have 280 Covid patients at the hospital with the number of critically ill patients increasing by the day.

“We have Covid 260 beds but there are already 280 patients in the hospital. We are facing some shortage of Remdesivir because there is shortage across the country,” SKIMS medical superintendent Dr Farooq Jan said.

At Srinagar Chest Disease Hospital almost all beds are occupied. “If we get any more patients then it will be come difficult to attend to them,” said a senior doctor posted at the hospital.

SKIMS Resident Doctors’ Association Aabid Maqbool said this year the percentage of young patients affected by Covid is more as compared to 2020.

“This time, around 50% patients in our ward are young. Another difference is the infectivity. This year, the infectivity of the virus is more. Last year, if a person would get infected. he would at most infect one or two close family members but this year all members in families are getting infected. The fatality has not increased. Overall mortality in J&K is less in comparison to the rest of the country. However, the situation is worrisome.”

“At SKIMS this year we have increased the strength of ventilators and oxygen points. And the pool of sick patients is also more, he said. At Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital (SMHS), Srinagar, the situation is no different.

“In the first wave, patients would trickle in ones, twos and threes but this time the rise is exponential. The patients are coming in groups. The first lap of second wave was hard,” said Dr Mohsin Bin Mushtaq of SMHS Hospital.

“Similarly, last time we would see just one or two young patients in a ward that were young but this time around 20% cases are young. Many patients without any co-morbidity have to be admitted because their oxygen saturation is not normal,” he said.

SKIMS Medical College, Bemina, department of chest medicine head Dr Javaid Malik said, “We have around 15 Covid patients and their prognosis seems promising.” Last year, the hospital was designated as a Covid hospital.

At Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SHMS) hospital, the biggest hospital associated with Government Medical College, almost all beds in six wards dedicated for Covid patients are full. “We have to wait for filling of oxygen cylinders for hours. Patients are unable to get some life-saving drugs due to shortage,” said a resident Khursheed Ahmad, whose brother in law was admitted in the hospital.

At Sopore’s Covid Centre, attendants said doctors are not visiting patients. “My brother is admitted at Covid care centre of Sopore Hospital and his oxygen saturation drops to 50 sometimes and this ward is full of such patients . But for the last 24 hours not even a single doctor visited, “ said a resident Mudasir Bashir Shah.

At Indoor Stadium Baramulla Covid centre in north Kashmir, which is being managed by the medical college in Baramulla, around 50 Covid patients are receiving treatment and almost 50 beds are still vacant.

Some patients say despite prescriptions of Remdesivir, they were not being provided the same. “We have put messages on social media but still could not find the injection,” said Majeed Ahmad, whose cousin is admitted at the hospital.

Doctors’ association Kashmir (DAK) president and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan said there is also shortage of Tocilizumab drug that prevents Covid patients from dying. He said they have been able to save lives of many Covid-19 patients in Kashmir hospitals with early institution of the drug.“But, now the drug has run out of stock in valley hospitals putting lives of patients at risk. “We must ensure that every patient who needs the drug should be able to access it,” he said.

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