SRINAGAR — The Doctors’ Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday said that delay in reporting to hospitals is the main reason for increase in number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the valley.
“COVID-19 patients arrive at hospitals only when their condition worsens,” DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan said.
He said early medical intervention is key to reduce COVID-19 deaths. However, he said, patients come to hospitals when their lungs are largely affected which decreases their chances of survival.
Dr Hassan said many of the patients reach hospitals when COVID-19 is already at an advanced stage. “We receive patients with critically low oxygen saturation levels as low as 50-60 per cent,” he said.
Dr Hassan said many patients have bought oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators and use them at home to ease symptoms and report to hospitals only when their condition deteriorates.
“This delay in reporting to hospitals is proving fatal and is contributing to the high mortality among COVID-19 patients,” he said.
“One big problem with COVID-19 is silent hypoxia, a condition in which patients have extremely low blood oxygen levels, yet do not show signs of difficulty in breathing,” Dr Nisar said.
He said despite COVID-19 pneumonia, patients have remarkably low oxygen saturation, they are alert, talking normally and walking around. “And by the time they feel trouble in breathing and reach out for help, they are already dangerously sick and need to be put on ventilators and most of them die,” said Dr Nisar.
“Further, ICU beds in hospitals are full as a result of which a patient whose condition has already deteriorated has to wait in a ward for a longer duration which increases complexities,” he said.
The DAK president said shifting critically-ill patients who are on life-support from various hospitals to COVID-19 designated hospitals is also contributing to increased mortality.
“Shifting them to dedicated hospitals is leading to interruption and delay in treatment,” he said, adding most of the death cases have underlying medical conditions which are liable to get neglected in COVID-19 centers for want of specialists and equipment.
“We need to revisit the existing protocols for shifting critically-ill patients, who test positive for COVID-19 at different hospitals,” he added. (KNT)