With three more H1N1 deaths at SKIMS toll reaches 11

Three patients have died of H1N1 influenza at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) here in the past 48 hours, taking the death toll due to the influenza to 11 this season.
An official source said that a man from Anantnag, aged around 40, who had tested positive for the infection and was undergoing treatment at the institute’s isolation ward, died on Wednesday.
“He was undergoing treatment in isolation ward for the past three days,” the source said.
Last week, the SKIMS had decided to send to media organisations daily updates about H1N1 patients and the resultant situation in the hospital. But the official communications have been stopped for the past few days for unknown reasons.
The source said that another man, who was paraplegic and had also tested positive for H1N1, passed away in the isolation ward yesterday.
“He was from Srinagar and aged around 30 years,” the source said.
He said that another man, also from Srinagar died, Thursday. “He was around 50 years of age,” the source said.
A doctor said that three more patients who are presently undergoing treatment, two in isolation ward and one in surgical ward, are in a “critical” condition.
Meanwhile, the doctor said that another person who was suffering from esophagus cancer and had received “full treatment” for H1N1 influenza, passed away in another ward after he was taken out of isolation ward two days ago.
“He was now undergoing treatment for cancer after receiving full treatment for H1N1 influenza,” said the doctor.
While SKIMS medical superintendent Dr S Amin Tabish didn’t respond to repeated calls from this newspaper, his deputy Dr Farooq Jan said that he was not authorised to speak to media.
PRO SKIMS Kulsoom Bhat said the updates about influenza cases couldn’t be sent as she is on leave.
In September, Kashmir Post carried a news report wherein influenza experts had cautioned that a spike in cases of H1N1 influenza could be seen this year in Kashmir, keeping in view the trends across India. However, despite the warnings, the healthcare system of Kashmir was caught “unawares” due to which healthcare professionals were not vaccinated in time, resulting in some doctors even getting infected.
The SKIMS has also faced criticism recently for issuing statements that questioned the practice of referring of suspected influenza patients from poorly equipped peripheral hospitals to the tertiary-care institute.

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