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Exclusive: Tangmarg man checked into super-specialty hospital, wasn’t isolated properly at SMHS; family refused to put him on ventilator

(The Kashmir Monitor is resharing this story from March last year when COVID-19 cases were first detected in Kashmir)

Srinagar, Mar 29, 2020: The elderly man from Baramulla’s Tangmarg area who passed away at CD Hospital, Srinagar early morning today was not properly isolated during his stay at SMHS Hospital, informed sources told The Kashmir Monitor.

In his 60s, the man was a shopkeeper by profession and suffered from Chronic Liver Disease (CLD).

He, sources said, had “clear symptoms” of coronavirus when he reported at SMHS on Saturday.

“At SMHS, the doctors took his throat as well as nasal swab. The patient complained of some gastro issues, and was told to go and check into the Super-speciality hospital right across SMHS, whereas ideally he should have been isolated right away if he was a COVID-19 suspect,” sources added.

Much to the shock of the medical staff at super-speciality hospital (SSH), the patient, sources said, walked on his own to SSH, checked into the Gastroenterology ward there and even rested on a bed for some time.

“The MS SSH had informed his doctors to be ready as a COVID-19 suspect was coming to the hospital, who in turn were shocked and complained about lack of proper gear to treat such patient,” sources added.

The authorities at SSH are in a fix now and planning to sanitize the entire super speciality hospital.

When called, MS SSH Dr Shabir Ahmed feigned ignorance about the issue, and said “no such patient had reported at the hospital”.

“There is no question that such a patient had reported here. Even if it was the case, the patient may have visited for consultation and not to be admitted,” the MS told The Kashmir Monitor.

Sources said it was likely that given the patient’s zero travel history and contact, his case slipped through the cracks till the time his symptoms worsened and he was referred to CD hospital.

“We think that he may have contracted the virus from a customer at his shop,” they added.

At CD hospital, contrary to reports that the patient was put on ventilator, official sources said that his family refused to get him intubated.

“He was laid on a ventilator bed but his family didn’t allow the doctors to insert the tube,” they said.

This was the second death due to coronavirus in Kashmir, which is lately seeing a daily spike in cases.

Till Saturday evening, as many as 33 people tested positive for the virus across J&K including 25 from Kashmir.