Health department increases hospital beds for H1N1 patientsNews — By The Desk on August 20, 2010 at 12:57 PM
Mid-day: To cope with the rising number of swine flu cases in the city, the state health department has increased the number of hospital beds that are to be reserved for H1N1 patients.
The move came after it became impossible to accommodate the H1N1 patients in the 250-odd beds across isolation wards reserved for them.
“Over the past few days, the average number of patients admitted for swine flu has been around 325, while some 250 beds had been reserved for them. That is why we started getting reports that in some private hospitals, swine flu patients were being admitted to general wards with other patients, which posed the risk of infection spreading,” said a senior official from health department. “It was then decided to increase the bed capacity from 290 to 497.”
MiD DAY had first reported about the shortage of beds across hospitals in the city and mixing of swine flu patients with people suffering from other ailments in non-H1N1 wards.
Dr C A Kante, assistant director of health services, confirmed that 200 additional beds had been reserved for H1N1 cases.
“The number of cases is quite high and after looking at the trend of fresh infections and hospitalisations, it
was recommended that extra beds be reserved for swine flu in whichever hospitals it was possible to do so,”
With the swine flu epidemic having reached its “third peak”, doctors are debating whether they should revert to last year’s practice of giving Tamiflu as prophylactic treatment to all those who come in contact with swine flu patients.
“As of now, we wait for people who are in touch with H1N1 patients to show symptoms and then give Tamiflu.
But if we give Tamiflu to all those in contact with swine flu patients, then the rate of infection can come down,” said Dr Sharad Agharkhedkar, president of Indian Medical Association, Pune chapter. “One H1N1 patient today affects 1.5 new people. By following last year’s regime, the rate of infection spread can be brought down to 1.2 people.”
But some doctors disagree. Dr Aarti Kinikar, head of paediatric department at Sassoon said prophylactic treatment didn’t work last year.
“If a person doesn’t have H1N1 and is given Tamiflu, then the drug might not give desired results if that person later on actually gets swine flu,” said Kinikar. “Besides, the World HealthOrganisation also recommends treatment only after symptoms develop.”