As Covid-19 positive cases surge in Jammu, families are shifting Covid-19 patients to hospitals in Punjab for better management.
“My brother-in-law tested Covid-19 positive. We couldn’t take the risk to admit him in the Jammu Government Medical College. We had to shift him to Jalandhar for better treatment. There are regular reports of disruption in oxygen supply here in Jammu,” says Ashwami Kumar, President, Press Club Jammu.
National Conference (NC) Jammu in-charge Davinder Singh Rana claims that the healthcare infrastructure in Jammu has collapsed. “Healthcare system has crumbled. There have been instances of deaths due to lack of oxygen, disruption in oxygen supply and inoperative ventilators which have led to chaos and confusion,” says Rana.
On Friday 1090 new Covid-19 were reported, of which 603 were from Jammu and 487 from Kashmir. So far, 1212 people have succumbed to the virus, with the toll being 365 in Jammu division and 847 in Kashmir division. While Covid-19 related deaths have been higher in the Kashmir region, for the past one month Jammu has witnessed a steep rise in fatalities. On September 30, 17 deaths were reported; 11 from Jammu and six from Kashmir.
Kumar is also of the opinion that some patients maybe dying at homes as many cannot afford the critical care ambulance services which are reportedly charging Rs. 50,000 for shifting patients from Jammu to other places.
Sisters Maryam Sheikh and Zareena Shiekh of Kishtwar died in an accident at Nipora on the Srinagar-Jammu highway when the ambulance they were in overturned. The sisters who had tested positive for Coronavirus were admitted in Kishtwar hospital on September 19. However, as their blood oxygen levels dropped they were shifted to Jammu Medical College hospital. “We had pleaded with the concerned CMO to shift them to Srinagar as facilities in Srinagar are better but he declined. In Jammu Medical College we realized they are not getting proper facility, so we booked a private critical ambulance to shift them to Srinagar,” a relative said adding that the family was charged Rs. 40,000 by the ambulance service. As the driver crossed the speed limit, the ambulance met with an accident, killing the sisters. “Had there been facilities in Jammu why would we have taken risk to shift them to Srinagar,” the sisters’ relatives ask.
According to sources in the Jammu Medical College’s 33-bedded High Dependency Unit (HDU) none of the 33 ventilators installed are functional. Sources have said that the hospital’s existing oxygen concentrated plant is not meeting the oxygen requirement needed for Covid-19 patients.