A 35 year old woman’s death in Tiruporur in Kancheepuram district of swine flu has raised questions about private hospitals and their ability to treat swine flu patients. Health minister V S Vijay said the government was concerned over delayed diagnosis and treatment at private hospitals. According to him, “Most hospitals disown patients when they realise that it is too difficult for them to treat. Patients on ventilator support are rushed to the government hospitals. It becomes too late for us to do anything,” Vijay said.

On Monday, the victim was taken to the Government General Hospital on an ambulance from Chettinad Hospitals. Manjula was on life support and suffered from severe respiratory distress, a serious complication of H1N1. She died at 5.30pm. Government General Hospital dean Dr V Kanakasabai said that patient was sent to the Govt hospital very late.

According to sources, Manjula was admitted to the private hospital with fever on April 20. Tests confirmed H1N1 two days later. “We don’t know why the hospital waited for two days to start the medication. If they had started the medication on the day they suspected the disease, the patient might have been saved,” the minister, himself a doctor, said. Doctors at the private hospital said they referred the patient to GH on request from her relatives. There have been 73 swine flu cases which includes, Coimbatore with 18 cases, Tiruppur 5, Cuddalore and Madurai 3 each and Karur and Tiruvallur 2 each.

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