A narrow dingy corridor leads to the ultrasound section at the District Hospital Shopian.
A metal seat outside the otherwise busy section is empty, the door bolted from outside.
The section has been shut for almost a month as the only radiologist of the hospital has not shown up at the facility since October 1.
“We have written to the higher ups about his unauthorised absence,” an official pleading anonymity said.
In absence of a radiologist, poor patients are forced to get the procedure done from private labs.
According to a technician at the hospital, private clinics charge patients between Rs 500 to Rs 600 for an ultrasound report.
Rubeena, an expecting mother from Saidpora village, said in absence of the facility provided at the Shopian hospital, she had to twice visit a private diagnostic centre for the scans.
Rubeena’s is not an isolated case though.
Women in a long queue can be seen standing in front of the gynecology ward carrying similar scans conducted by private diagnostic centres.
The patients and staff are also facing a number of other issues in the hospital.
The construction work on a new hospital building has been lingering on since 2008.
While the Out Patients Department (OPD) operates from this new building, the old building houses the operation theatre and general wards.
The OPD for gynecology and a labour room are also running from another dilapidated structure.
“The construction work on the new building is still underway. The labourers ferry the construction material through the corridors of the building packed with patients and attendants, causing inconvenience to them,” another official said. A doctor said that the hospital faces a shortfall of both the medical and the paramedical staff.
“The hospital receives 800 to 900 patients daily and there is very thin staff to attend to them,” he said. “This is one of the causes for referring patients to other hospitals.”