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Jun 10, 2009

Flu: CMCH says it has a quick response system


An emergency team comprising heads of four departments and also paramedical and conservancy wings are maintaining a tight vigil at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) while handling cases that come in with complaints of symptoms of flu, Dean (in-charge) of CMCH V. Kumaran says.

Professors of Medicine, Paediatrics, ENT (ear, nose and throat) and Communicable Diseases form the cream of the team constituted in the wake of the A (H1N1) flu alert. “We move manpower and equipment from other parts of the hospital to the ward where suspected cases are quarantined. For instance, if a case develops pneumonia, we move the ventilator immediately to the quarantine ward,” says Dr. Kumaran. “We have five ventilators that were provided when there was a world-wide outbreak of Avian influenza. Some more are expected.”

The hospital is also exploring the possibility of sending blood samples and nasopharyngeal swabs of suspected cases to the National Institute of Virology in Pune to cut down the time of transporting these to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in New Delhi.
The Emergency Medical Relief Division of the Directorate General of Medical Services has announced that a semi-auto analyser has been sanctioned to the CMCH to carry out tests.
The Government hospital in Tiruchi and a peripheral Government Hospital in Chennai will also get the equipment.

But, till these are provided, the CMCH banks on a quick-response system it has developed, says Dr. Kumaran. It includes various wings of the hospital and receiving calls even on the Dean’s cell phone from any part of Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode and the Nilgiris from people who fear they have symptoms of flu.Medical officers deployed by the Deputy Director of Health Services at the airport and the compulsory rotatory resident internees of the Coimbatore Medical College posted there provide the phone number of the Dean (98422-231415) to the passengers. The Dean’s number and also of the hospital (0422-2301393) are provided to the people at other places also.

“People can call me to tell what symptoms they have, such as runny nose or fever,” he says. People with such complaints are asked to come to the hospital and contact Resident Medical Officer P. Sivaprakasam, who coordinates the work with regard to handling these cases. There is round-the-clock access and admission.Assistant Resident Medical Officer SK.Thirunavukkarasu, who co-ordinates the despatch of blood samples and nasopharyngeal swabs to the NICD by flights to New Delhi, says there is no hesitation among doctors, paramedical staff and other staff in handling the patients in the quarantine ward.

“They are totally focussed on treating the patients, not on their own safety. And, the NICD’s quick system helps us determine soon whether a patient is positive or negative.”

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