MUMBAI: Just when the panic over swine flu seemed to be ebbing, a 27-year-old Mira Road woman became the latest H1N1-positive patient to turn
critical enough to need ventilator support in civic-run Kasturba Hospital, a fact confirmed by state health minister Rajendra Shingane. Sources told TOI that two other male patients in the same hospital had severe breathing difficulties and had been classified as serious.
The case of the Mira Road patient, who was nine months pregnant and delivered a stillborn baby, is a horror story of lapses on the part of the civic hospitals. Sources told TOI that the woman—who had a normal pregnancy and was due to deliver on August 22—was denied H1N1 testing as well as Tamiflu treatment in two BMC hospitals.
Civic executive health officer Dr J Thanekar told TOI that the patient has been “brought in late’’. However, the fact is that she had sought medical help as early as Thursday.
A source close to the 27-year-old Mira Road patient, who has tested positive for h1N1 and is now critically ill, said she had approached Bhagwati hospital in Borivli as early as Thursday but was turned away on the grounds that she did not fit the criteria of an H1N1 patient. “She had been running a fever that refused to subside with paracetamol for two days,’’ the source said. “After she was turned back and her fever kept spiking, she was admitted to the ICU of Sanjeevani Nursing Home in Mira Road.’’
Suspecting H1N1, the doctors at Sanjeevani Hospital sent her to the civic-run Siddharth Hospital in Goregaon on Saturday. “Here, they didn’t take her throat swab till Sunday afternoon and didn’t even give her Tamiflu tablets,’’ said the source.
It was only late on Sunday night that the woman was rushed to Kasturba Hospital at Chinchpokli. A civic official told TOI that the H1N1 test done on a priority basis revealed that she was H1N1-positive. She had acute respiratory distress syndrome and needed to be put on the ventilator on Monday afternoon, said the official.
Along with the Chandivli resident, who was the city’s first patient on the ventilator at Hiranandani Hospital in Powai, the total number of critical patients in Mumbai is four. “We are struggling to keep him stable, but his lung damage is taking long to heal,’’ said hospital CEO Dr Sujit Chatterjee of the patient.
Meanwhile, only 1,742 people turned up for screening in the 12 civic designated hospitals till 4 pm on Monday. “Only 15 swabs were taken and one suspected patient was admitted to Kasturba Hospital,’’ said the civic swine flu update smsed to TOI. Incidentally, the city’s H1N1-positive tally jumped drastically on Monday as 96 reports were received, taking the total to 316.