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SARS patient complaints about treatment

The city has two confirmed SARS patients and two suspected carriers of the disease that has claimed 350 lives worldwide.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2003 22:38 IST

A SARS patient in this city has complained that he is not receiving proper treatment. Businessman Radheshyam Gupta, 36, is a confirmed case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and is now quarantined at the Infectious Diseases (ID) Hospital here.

"There is no real treatment. The facilities at the hospital are bad," Gupta, who arrived here from Bangkok on April 19, told a private Bengali television channel Wednesday.

The city has two confirmed SARS patients and two suspected carriers of the disease that has claimed 350 lives worldwide. "There is no air-conditioning facility and it's very stuffy," Gupta said from behind a green mask that covered his mouth and nose. His hands were in gloves, but he wasn't wearing much protective gear nor glasses.

Doctors attending Gupta said his condition was "stable". Gupta had fallen ill with fever and chest congestion in Hong Kong and had to be admitted to a hospital there between April 14 and 16. Thereafter, he got himself discharged and travelled back to Kolkata.

His neighbours in the Tangra area forcibly took him to the ID hospital when they learnt that he was showing symptoms of SARS after his Bangkok trip.

The health authorities' lack of preparedness in dealing with SARS patients can be gauged from the fact that every time a suspected case is identified, serological samples have to be sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, Maharashtra, for testing. Results take up to five days to arrive.

"Now we are making arrangements to get the tests done here at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Disease. The facility should be up by tomorrow (Thursday)," Prabhakar Chatterjee, director of West Bengal's health services, told IANS.

He claimed that all required infrastructure to treat SARS was available at the ID hospital, where 100 beds had been kept for patients of the potentially fatal ailment that so far has no cure.

Health officials claimed the first SARS patient in eastern India, 42-year-old Asitava Purakayastha, was not infectious any more and a second round of test results is awaited to declared him SARS-free. He is at ID hospital now after having spent five days at a private hospital.

Test results of another SARS suspect, 25-year-old businessman Jamil Ahmed who arrived from Hong Kong via Dhaka Sunday, are awaited. A second suspect who arrived from Cambodia on Monday has also been quarantined and his test reports too are awaited. Both are at ID hospital.

First Published: Apr 30, 2003 22:38 IST