No PPE kits for health workers as SKIMS Bemina “not dedicated as COVID19 facility”

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The management of the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Bemina is not providing personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to healthcare workers at the hospital despite a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An employee of the hospital who tested positive for the virus alleged that “we are not being provided with proper protective gears”, leaving the staff vulnerable to infection. “We are shouted at if we use gloves. We are being told to use only sanitizers as gloves are needed at the operation theatre,” the employee said, requesting anonymity.

The staffer further alleged that the administration had not segregated infected patients from others admitted at the hospital. “COVID patients are not segregated from normal patients in the casualty ward despite having separate COVID dedicated wards,” the health worker said.

Medical Superintendent SKIMS Beimina Shifa Deva admitted that the administration of SKIMS Bemina “have not been providing PPE (personal protective equipment) kits as the hospital is not dedicated as COVID19 facility.”

Even as the pandemic is now in its second wave in the region, the hospital has been reluctant in admitting COVID-19 patients. Deva said that only two patients are admitted to the hospital. She didn’t offer any explanation for the denial of admissions.

The SKIMS Bemina hospital was dedicated as COVID-19 only hospital after the pandemic’s outbreak in March last year. Deva said that the hospital, among the largest in Kashmir, will “dedicate around 30 beds to the COVID19 patients in a week.”

Meanwhile, another employee has accused the hospital administration of being reluctant to grant her medical leave after she, along with three members of her family, tested positive for COVID-19, potentially risking critical patients in the hospital.

Initially denying her leave, a senior official at the hospital asked “who will do your job”, the nurse alleged, requesting anonymity fearing reprimand by the hospital administration. “I asked my senior for permission to leave for home, to my surprise she was reluctant to permit me and told me ‘Do your job first, who will do your job?’”

The health worker tested positive for the virus on Sunday amid a resurgence of the pandemic. She was, however, granted a medical leave. Deva told The Kashmir Walla that she was unaware of senior officials being reluctant in providing leave to infected staff as a ten day leave is sanctioned for any employee who tests positive for COVID-19. 

This isn’t the first time the administration of SKIMS Bemina, headed by Deva for the past several years, has been in the news for negligence. Earlier in February, patients suffered on account of surgeries delayed due to non-replacement of faulty equipment. Even then Deva had claimed that all was well within the hospital.

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