Gas heaters pose risk to patients

ESS AHMAD. Dated: 12/2/2017 12:45:52 AM

Director Health Services admits central heating systems not being used

SRINAGAR, Dec 1: With government spending crores of rupees on the installation of central heating system (CHS) in the hospitals, the same continues to remain non-operational in the rural healthcare facilities of the valley. Though in some hospitals authorities have installed blowers in IPD wards to provide heating facility to the patients but in most of the hospitals the hospital administrations are using gas heaters to warm up the wards thus risking the lives of patients.
In the new building block of the district hospital Anantnag which was made operational four years ago, crores of rupees were spend on the installation of central heating system but the same, hospital sources said, is only gathering rust.
"The central heating system has not been put to use even once in last four years. One wonders over the wisdom of wasting crores of rupees on the installation of central heating system and not using it later," staff in the hospital said.
Though the hospital authorities have installed wall heaters in IPD wards to provide heating facilities to the patients and fans to provide cooling facilities during the summers but in Casuality, OPD and doctors' chambers, gas heaters are being used.
Similarly in district hospital Kulgam, the central heating system is lying defunct from last seven years and the hospital authorities, sources said, don't bother to set it right.
"Though in IPD wards authorities every year purchase wall heaters to keep them warm but in doctors chambers in OPD gas heaters are used while in the waiting halls outside patients keep on shivering while waiting for their turn in the absence of any heating facility.
At sub-district hospital Bijbehara, gas heaters could be seen lying close to the beds in both medical wards and rooms of doctors and Para-medics.
At Emergency hospital Qazigund which was constructed at the cost of Rs 13 core during NC-Congress regime the central heating system, hospital sources said, is also rusting. The hospital authorities, insiders say, are using gas heaters in both OPD and medical wards during the winter season thus risking the lives of patients.
At Maternity and Child Care hospital (MCH), Anantnag, the central heating system also remains non-functional with officials saying they have no funds to set the system right and run it.
While the hospital authorities cite the shortage of funds as the reason for not making the central heating system operational and using other economic heating facilities but experts say that the gas heaters can prove harmful for the patients.
"Firstly no heating gadget is substitute to the central heating system in terms of keeping the wards warm or cool but using gas heaters can prove dangerous. The gas heaters release carbon monoxide which is colourless and odourless. This gas is highly poisonous and can have adverse effects on the patients if continuously used," said an official of the health department.
Not only this, the official said, the gas cylinder fixed with the heater can prove to be catastrophic if it explodes any time.
He said that though there are clear directions to the hospital authorities not to use gas heaters at least in IPD wards but in many rural healthcare facilities the directive is being ignored.
"In almost all the newly constructed major district or sub-district hospitals CHS is installed but not being put to use and the only reason is the non-availability of funds for the purpose," another official said.
Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ul-Rehman admitted that the central heating system is not being used in the hospitals but added that they are providing other heating facilities to the patients.
"Whether we are using CHS or not that is not the question. We have heating facility in all the hospitals and whatever heating gadgets we are using is not the question," Director said.
Asked if the gas heaters being used as heating facility in hospitals are safe, the Director evaded the query saying, “We have heating facility in all the hospitals”.



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