There are just six ventilators at the District Hospital in north Kashmir’s Bandipora, all of which are non-operational due to shortage of trained medical staff at the hospital that caters to the district’s more than four hundred thousand residents.
“The ventilators are operational but we have not placed any patients on those yet,” said Sajjad Parvez, senior consultant physician and COVID-19 nodal officer at the hospital. “The reason is that there is a shortage of trained staff for operating ventilators. For each ventilator we need one doctor, two nurses, and two nursing orderlies. But we don’t have that.”
The lack of ventilator support at the hospital was highlighted on Twitter by social activist Nasir Kheuhami who alleged that a patient had died as a result of the lack of ventilator support. He also alleged that the hospital’s oxygen plant was dysfunctional more than a week after its official inauguration.
“The oxygen plant was launched amid fanfare by the authorities but it was still not functional 10 days later,” Khuehami told The Kashmir Walla. “There are just six ventilators in Bandipora but another patient who is critical since yesterday was was referred to hospitals in Srinagar.”
The hospital has just 31 beds dedicated to COVID-19 and seven patients admitted officially. The district has more than seven hundred confirmed cases of the infection, so far 65 have succumbed to the disease.
Parvez, however, denied the allegations. “He didn’t die because of the non-availability of a ventilator,” the doctor said. “He had severe comorbidities like diabetes and presently had severe Covid-pneumonia and on top of that he had acute gastroenteritis with acute renal failure… he suffered a multiorgan dysfunction.”
Parvez also said that the oxygen plant “has been running for the past three days. Besides that we have more than a hundred oxygen cylinders and a backup of upto three days.”