Kollam Tragedy: Does the 'unwarranted' VVIPs' visits to burns ICU affect the relief work of hospital?

Separated visits of both Congress and BJP ministers to meet the patients at Kollam hospital when seven of the eight patients admitted in the ICU were in “most critical condition”, hampered the relief work of doctors.

After the statement of Kerela DGP opposing PM’s visit to Kollam, hours after a fireworks blast which killed over 100, saying that the VVIPs visits would hamper the relief-work, the top health officials said the visits of VVIPs were to meet the victims were “unwarranted”.

I was pushed away when Modi visited. After arguing with security personnel, the Director of Medical Education and I had to return to our rooms… A decision by the VVIPs to visit such a hospital filled with charred bodies and patients with severe burn injuries and amputated limbs was unwarranted. We have no issues with them visiting victims but after two or three days, not within hours after the accident, which is a period we consider as the ‘golden hours’ to stabilise and save the lives of victims. Moreover, it was not just Modi and Rahul who entered the Burns ICU and wards but their cronies and photographers, too. I opposed this but it was beyond us,” said Ramesh.

By insisting on visiting the wards and the critical care unit, the VVIPs put the infection control mechanism in jeopardy and derailed the mass casualty management at the medical college, which actually had responded to the disaster in the most effective manner,” said the official.

In fact as per the excerpts taken from The Indian Express report, a nurse at the hospital said that she and four colleagues, who were part of the surgical wing, were stopped from entering the operation theatre block by the Prime Minister’s security team.

An ICU patient had developed a sudden complication and we were rushing there from another block, but they stopped us for almost 30 minutes,” said the nurse.

Kollam Tragedy: Does the 'unwarranted' VVIPs' visits to burns ICU affect the relief work of hospital?

Its quite a known fact that ICU restricts the number of people in its area because of the critical situation of patients therein, and after an ‘unwarranted’ permission, why the VVIPs made their visit with their security personnels and team of ministers in ICU wing?

”Even if the VVIPs want to visit the hospital, those accompanying them should be kept out of the campus as they have no business in a place where critical patients are fighting for their lives. Except for a few who wore masks that Sunday, none of the VVIPs or their security personnel were sterilised properly,” said Ramesh.

As we shifted patients with minor injuries to other hospitals, we focused on mass casualty management as all our patients admitted had been in critical stage. We had to control infections as well as focus on medicines and surgical procedures. We cleared an entire block for the victims from Kollam. There were two deaths in surgical ICU. There were 46 patients in the wards, some eight highly critical patients in the Burn ICU and seven in Orthopaedics ICU. Every 30 minutes, doctors and nurses met to assess the situation and gather resources and medicines besides arranging ventilators and other surgical and ICU facilities in other hospitals. Still, these VVIPs insisted on visiting the patients instead of letting us do our work,” he said.

After having opposed permission from DGP, why the VVIPs made their visit to burns ICU when it could have been confined to other wards of hospital to meet the victims of tragedy?

(With inputs from The Indian Express)