As the surge in COVID cases takes a toll on Normal functioning of hospitals

Shafat Hussain

Srinagar, July 28: With the spike in Covid-19 cases in the valley, there is a crisis in all major and district hospitals of the region as the dearth of beds, non-availability of sufficient ventilators are adding to the woes. Patients blame that most of the senior doctors are escaping the responsibility as the workload has been entirely put on the junior doctors to manage COVID patients with little or negligible infrastructure.

“The health care in Kashmir is only on papers and twitter handles. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19the doctors, mostly senior ones are playing hide and seek with the affected patients and asking the junior ones to attend them round the clock. Further, under the excuse of COVID, the general functioning of hospitals has come to a halt, which is a serious concern, where should the public go in absence of doctors in the hospitals as private clinics to remain shut since March now?” questions the attendant at SMHS. Many people think now that the government to manage the crisis should separate the COVID treatment from the general functioning of the hospitals by establishing COVID treatment facilities on college grounds and places like these with all the basic facilities at disposal.

“The government should seriously give the idea of establishing makeshift hospitals a thought which would be away from the main hospitals and help in decongestion. There is a need to convert all the college grounds, public parks, and other grounds as COVID centers by erecting prefabricated shelters where only COVID patients will be treated separately. This would not only prevent the risk of spread into patients with other ailments but also help in the normal functioning of the hospitals for routine work the way it was before this pandemic,” adds a social rights activist, Jasif Mir.
While talking to CNS, a junior doctor, who wished anonymity, said,

“Basically COVID positive patients with absolutely no symptoms should have not been admitted in hospitals, they could have been managed at home under isolation. This has added burden to already overcrowded health facilities plus private hospitals can’t operate anyone without COVID negative certificate who then turn to government-run hospitals adding load to already overburdened hospitals.”

“Need of the hour is more COVID facilities because we will see more cases in the coming days. Young people don’t care the majority believe it’s a hoax and people with comorbidity are getting killed. The unlocking of bazaars on Eid will create havoc as the infection is present in community and intermingling will be a disaster,” he adds. As per sources, there is huge funding by WHO to tackle this pandemic while the health authorities are not able to manage the same.

However, Director of Health Services Kashmir, Dr. Sameer Matoo, while talking to CNS said that there are separate demarcated wards for managing COVID patients while the general treatment or OPD services are working normally across the valley.

“As far as the health department is concerned, our hospitals are working smoothly. We have made a clear demarcation between the COVID and non-COVID hospitals. While the non-COVID hospitals are catering to the general public and there are no complaints from anywhere about the burden in general treatment. We don’t feel the need for establishing separate makeshift COVID facilities as our COVID and Non-COVID facilities are not full yet,” said Dr. Matoo. When our reporter asked about the senior doctors skipping COVID duties, the DHSK further said, “We have got Consultants and Medical Officers, while the Consultants are limited in numbers who are being utilized in a maximum9 possible way to the extent that they are even attending the night duties also. All the consultants have been posted in the COVID hospitals, some have been kept in non- COVID hospitals, and they are working. Our health department is functioning normally; we have no such issues as far as the work of senior doctors is concerned. This might be true for Government Medical colleges who have a different system there, they have got professors, assistant professors, heads of departments, PG students, house surgeons but even they do call upon the seniors as and when required for consultations and they too are working. This is how the system works there.” While talking to attendants at SKIMS Soura and JVC Bemina, even if the condition here was satisfactory in tackling the crisis, the same cannot be said for SMHS and GMC run hospitals where there seems a clear collapse of management. Interestingly, the Principal Government Medical Hospital Srinagar, Dr. Saima, has a different opinion than DHSK to tackle the COVID crisis.

While talking to CNS, Dr. Saima said, “Yes we have an overflow of patients in government hospitals like SMHS, medical colleges, and associated hospitals be it COVID or Non-COVID patient care. During last night alone we have at least 100 patients who were admitted and are now lying in corridors where they are being treated. Yes, COVID care should be out of government hospitals in separate facilities. The hospitals in Srinagar are getting burdened due to the inflow of patients from other districts of the valley. The emergency care from other districts should not be referred to government-run hospitals in Srinagar. The district hospitals have all facilities in there to tackle such cases.” (CNS)