Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today said that attendants were forced to take care of their patients at Kashmir hospitals "as there is no staff to do that."
"With no staff in sight for most hours, the family members have no choice but to stay in hospitals and attend to their patients," said President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement. "It is a compulsion for relatives to accompany patients to hospitals who otherwise will remain unattended."
He said the attendants are, in fact, seen doing most jobs that hospital staff ought to be doing.
"From cleaning, feeding, laundry to administering medications, attendants do everything for their patients. You will see them carrying patients in hospitals from one place to another. It is they who prepare patients for procedures and surgeries. They are seen running in corridors with blood and urine samples of patients," said Dr Hassan.
"These are not the random images but common sight in hospitals that are reeling under severe crunch of staff. At SMHS hospital there is one junior doctor and one nurse for a ward of 50-60 patients during the night. There is one nursing orderly for 2-3 wards in the night and the 850 bedded SMHS hospital, which on a given day has 1000 inpatients and over 1000 outpatients, has only 43 nursing orderlies."
He said that the attendants observe and monitor the condition of patients in hospitals and if they go haywire there is nobody around.
"It is heartening to see an attendant pumping oxygen from an umbo-bag to help the patient breathe. Ironically, hospital authorities in order to cover up their inefficiencies blame attendants for the mess in hospitals without whom patients will die for want of care. Attendants do not derive pleasure by going to hospital but they have no choice. They won't come to hospitals, if their patients are taken care of and, in fact, they will be relieved of forced responsibility," he added.