Tribune News service
Bathinda, November 17
The first swine flu case of this season was reported in the district. Like last year, the district Health Department seems to be ill-equipped to deal with H1N1 patients. As the district Health Department has issued an advisory regarding the spread of swine flu in the district, the isolation ward meant for H1N1 patients is lying locked at the Civil Hospital.
The ill-preparedness of the Health Department came to the fore as the swine flu ward inside the mini ICU building is still non-operational.
In its advisory, the Health Department had asked residents to be alert and proactive against the spread of the contagious disease, but the ground reality seems to be different.
A senior official at the Civil Hospital said swine flu patients needed ventilation support and ventilators were not available at the hospital. And any patient requiring ventilator support is either referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, or a private hospital in the city.
Sources said the mini ICU was introduced at the hospital in 2012-13 with the motive of providing quality medical care to critical patients. But owing to a shortage of staff and adequate equipment, it could not be made fully operational.
The sources added that the Health Department had been intimated about the matter on numerous occasions, but it did not take any concrete steps to make the unit operational. As a result, patients are asked to seek treatment at private hospitals where they are being charged a hefty fee.
Civil Surgeon Dr Amrik Singh Sandhu said, “Since dengue cases are on the rise, our priority is to tackle the menace for now. There are not many cases of swine flu as of now and even if the cases increase in the coming weeks, we will make sure that an isolation ward is provided to patients. Moreover, the Civil Hospital is being renovated. As a result, we have to manage things accordingly.”
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