10-bedded PICU non-operational at GMC Baramulla

GMC Baramulla
GMC Baramulla File

Baramulla, Sep 1: The Special Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) established at Government Medical College (GMC) Baramulla has been pivotal in avoiding the referral of sick and premature newborn babies for special treatment at the territory care hospital in Srinagar, however, the non-operational 10 bedded Pediatrics Intensive Care Unit (PICU) has been an important facility that has been deprived to the residents of north Kashmir.

In absence of the PICU facility across the three north Kashmir districts of Baramulla, Kupwara, and Bandipora, the parents of critically sick new born babies faces a lot of problems as their sick children are referred to Srinagar hospitals for specialised treatment, which results in pain and agony to the parents.

The PICU facility is extremely important for the newborn babies having congenital heart defects, congenital anomalies, respiratory distress like asthma, infections and other chronic diseases.

The unit takes care of highly critical pediatrics cases such as the acuity of critical pediatrics patients and the potential of life-threatening complications.

The facility is even extended to teenagers and young adolescents.

Earlier, the Special Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) at GMC Baramulla used to be an important facility, which benefitted hundreds of newborn babies from across north Kashmir.

The facility provides individual warming and close monitoring devices, intravenous fluids and medications by infusion pumps, central oxygen besides procedures like resuscitation and exchange transfusion, and portable X-rays.

However, it did not include mechanical ventilation and specialised neonatal surgery.

Calling for setting up a PICU unit at GMC Baramulla, Dilshada Begum, a local, said that she had been a victim due to the absence of such a facility.

She said she gave birth to a male child three months back, however, her newborn child had some serious complications and needed the highest level of medical care.

“In absence of such a facility, my sick child was shifted to the Children’s Hospital Srinagar where we had to stay for at least 16 days till my sick child recovered fully,” Dilshada said.

“It was extremely difficult time for us. We had to arrange accommodation for such a long period. Had such a facility been available in any area of the north Kashmir, the family would not have undergone such an ordeal,” she said.

GMC Baramulla Associated Hospital has emerged over the years as a premier health institute across north Kashmir.

The hospital witnesses massive rush of patients who visit the facility from even other districts of the north Kashmir.

The pediatrics section of the hospital too remains over busy with patient rush.

As per hospital records, in last seven months, around 4500 persons visited the OPD section of the hospital.

During the same period, around 1150 sick children were admitted in the hospital while 333 new born sick babies were referred to Children Hospital Srinagar for specialised treatment.

During this period around 10 critically sick newborn babies died.

Hospital officials said that to make the PICU unit functional at GMC Baramulla, the hospital authorities need trained nursing staff, nursing lab technician, medical officers, and consultants.

“The PICU can be made operational once the required staff is made available. Once the staff is provided, the unit will be started, as it has to operate 24X7,” said a doctor at GMC Baramulla.

The GMC Baramulla Associated Hospital is already facing shortage of medical officers besides paramedical staff and it is extremely difficult for the existing staff to run the facility.

Medical Superintendent of GMC Baramulla Associated Hospital, Dr Parvaiz Masoodi said that the unit would soon be made operational.

He said that the issue had already been taken up with the higher authorities.

“We are hopeful that the PICU will start its operation soon at Baramulla. The required staff issue will be soon dealt with and PICU will be a reality at GMC Baramulla. The facility will cater to the new born babies from across north Kashmir and will be pivotal in avoiding the referral of critically sick patients to Srinagar,” he said.

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