Monday, February 02, 2015

Private hospitals creating swine flu panic: CMO Gurgaon

GURGAON: District health authorities have accused private hospitals of unnecessarily advising all patients with symptoms of cough, cold and fever to undergo swine flu tests in unauthorized centres, thereby creating panic in the city.

Chief medical officer Pushpa Bishnoi said that these hospitals were unnecessarily prescribing Tamiflu, an antiviral medicine that the government provides free of charge to patients. Officials at private hospital, however, said they were strictly working on directions given by the state health department.

"I called a meeting of representatives of major private hospitals, as we have been getting check up requests for Tamiflu. These doctors are advising almost all patients of cold, cough or fever, to get the H1N1 test done, just to earn a little extra money. Some hospitals such as Paras and Medanta, for instance, are doing so," said Bishnoi.
According to health department officials, private hospitals also suggest patients and their family members to get tests done at laboratories, which are not authorized by the government to conduct H1N1 tests.

A resident of Sector 51, Tripti Singh, didn't know that the swine flu test ought to be done in specific laboratories. "On Monday, my eight-year-old son got mild fever with cough and cold. I went to a private hospital, where the doctor advised to get the H1N1 test immediately at the hospital laboratory," Singh said.

Bishnoi expressed concern about the needless consumption of Tamiflu. "Tamiflu is not a precautionary drug. If patients, who don't have swine flu, take the medicine, their body will develop resistance for the antiviral," she said.A spokesperson of Medanta denied the charge saying the hospital strictly follows the state health department guidelines.

The spokesperson said, "We are strictly following guidelines of state health department to treat patients suffering from H1N1 virus. We have never advised any patient to go through unnecessary tests. Moreover, Medanta is authorized to keep Tamiflu for internal use. We can provide the medicine to patients who are admitted to our hospital. We, therefore, don't need to send patients to Civil Hospital to get the antiviral."

Dr Lal Path Labs, NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases) centre in Delhi and PGI Chandigarh are authorized to test samples of suspected swine flu cases in the city. All private laboratories, however, are conducting tests for the swine flu virus. The corporate hospitals are charging anything between Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,500 for providing consultation for and diagnosis of swine flu.


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