Resurgence of H1N1 in T&T?

Doctors at the San Fernando General Hospital are engaged in a silent protest at the moment because they say that the South West Regional Health Authority has not provided them with the necessary safety equipment and medication in order to protect themselves from patients who may be admitted with the H1N1 virus.

Medical sources intimately familiar with the matter pointed to a circular issued recently by Petro Medical (the medical facility attached to Petrotrin) which advised staff to stock up on medication Tamiflu, after two patients died following confirmation as H1N1 being the cause at the San Fernando General Hospital.

One, a watermelon vendor, died recently within thirty-six hourse of admission to the Hospital. The attending physician ruled it H1N1 after tests confirmed. The second victim is said to be warded in the Intensive Care Unit of the Hospital and attending physicians do not expect him to survive the night.

The third case, a nine year old boy died recently while at the Hospital but his death was officially ruled as being caused by chronic pneumonia. However, medical staff indicated that while the attending doctor had to rule the child's death as by chronic pneumonia, none of the symptoms, according to the medical sources, presented in the child's case.

"If you had chronic pneumonia you would be wheezing for weeks before hand," was told. "This child had a cough for just two days, and no wheezing, but by the third day he was dead. The symptoms he had, were symptoms that present in H1N1."

When asked who would give the order to send out a circular at Petro Medical and where would that official directive come from, the medical professionals said that the directive will either come from colleagues at the San Fernando General Hospital, or from the Medical Director of Health Programmes and Technical Support Services at the Health Ministry, Dr Kumar Sundaraneedi.

"I don't want it to be a case of a panic purchase by Government of vaccines and Tamiflu like the last time," medical sources told "Because approximately $50 million was spent on that last time and very little was used. The vaccines expired." contacted Dr Sundaraneedi, Chief Medical Officer at the Health Ministry Dr Clyde Teeluckdharry, and South West Regional Health Authority Chief Executive Officer, Anil Gosein for a response, however this proved futile as all were in meetings.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh was also not in office.

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