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Hospitals let H1N1 flu patients die
HYDERABAD: The city is witnessing a rash of swine flu deaths but hospitals have turned their backs on H1N1 flu patients, even critical cases, who are being treated as social outcasts and shunted from one hospital to another. The latest H1N1 flu victim, 25-year-old Ashish Raj, who succumbed to the infection on Sunday night was made to shift three hospitals before he was given treatment at Osmania General Hospital, that too after much persuasion by his relatives.

Vanasthalipuram resident Ashish Raj was suffering from acute respiratory distress (ARDS) and pneumonia. He was first admitted to Mahaveer Hospital but doctors asked him to move to Gandhi Hospital on Saturday as it does not have a facility to treat H1N1 flu patients. At Gandhi, he was not only denied admission but even a stretcher. “The staff refused to take up the case on grounds that there was no vacancy. When we took him to Chest Hospital, even they refused to take up the case citing the same reason and asked us to go to Osmania General Hospital (OGH). At OGH, after much persuasion, he was admitted. He died later on Sunday at around 8.30 pm,” said Vinay Verma, a relative. Ashish died due to multi-organ failure.

Since a stretcher was not given, relatives said that the critical patient’s father and brother had to run from pillar to post with the struggling boy on their shoulder. At both Gandhi and Chest Hospital, officials said that admission was denied as there was no space to accommodate more patients.

When asked why a critical patient was treated in this manner, Gandhi hospital superintendent E A Ashok Kumar said he wasn’t aware of this. “It has not come to my notice. I will inquire into it and take action,’’ he said. Chest Hospital officials said that all three ventilators were in use and there was no way they could accommodated another patient.

Ashish’s case is not an isolated one with as many as six to eight such cases being denied admission at Chest Hospital on a daily basis, according to hospital sources. While Chest Hospital is referring the patients to Gandhi and OGH, most of these cases are not being admitted by the two government hospitals as well, say sources.

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