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Isolation ward sans ‘isolation’ at SMHS hospital

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An isolation ward set up in the corridors of SMHS hospital in Srinagar (KM Photo)

Srinagar: Patients and medicos are sitting on an infection powder keg as the makeshift isolation ward in the SMHS hospital is a free-for-all facility with administration throwing all norms and guidelines to the wind.

The 10-bedded ward has been set up in a corridor of the ground floor adjacent to the triaging facility. It was earlier earmarked as a makeshift facility for gastroenterology before it got shifted to Government Super Specialty Hospital, Shireen Bagh.


In the ward, there is hardly any spacing between the beds and no ventilation. Not only this, but there is also no check on the people entering or exiting the ward. Around five COVID suspects are admitted to the ward

KM photo

A senior doctor at SMHS hospital said that with this level of containment measures, the facility will end up as a hotspot for the pandemic crisis.

“Under ICMR guidelines, there should be adequate spacing between each bed to reduce the risk of cross-contamination or infection occurring from direct or indirect contact or droplet transmission,” he said.

The doctor noted that optimum spacing between beds should be 1-2 meters, which is not the case in the hospital.  “In case air-conditioning is not available, the negative pressure in the room should be created by using three-four exhaust fans that drive air out of the room. Significantly, medical staff designated to the isolation wards should not be allowed to work in other wards. On the contrary, doctors on duty here freely roam around,” he said.

The doctor stressed that before entering isolation wards, the medical staff needs to ensure that they have collected all required equipment, have performed hand-hygiene and put on PPE.

KM Photo

“Here the attendants are entering the ward without any check. This not only can pose a threat to the patients but everyone in the ward,” he said.

Medical Superintendent SMHS Hospital Dr. Nazir Chowdhary said the administration has taken cognizance of the matter. “We are in the process of fixing things. A meeting will be convened soon,” he said.