Split between 2 hospitals, GMC’s neurosurgery deptt craves for attention

‘Shifted’ from space-constrained SMHS, deptt lack functional ICU, casualty, other facilities at SSH; patient care takes hit

Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 21 2018 12:27AM | Updated Date: Jul 21 2018 12:27AM
Split between 2 hospitals, GMC’s neurosurgery deptt craves for attention

In 2016 Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar had announced with fanfare shifting of nine super specialty departments including neurosurgery from SMHS Hospital to newly set up Super Specialty Hospital (SSH). Two years later, the neurosurgery department however continues to carry out its critical operations from space-constrained SMHS Hospital as authorities have failed to set up required facility for the department at new place. 

At the SSH located nearby SMHS, the neurosurgery department has just a spacious ward in the name of facilities where only stable patients and those ready to be discharged, are shifted.  

The department has neither a dedicated operation theatre nor functional surgical intensive care unit (SICU) or well equipped wards at the SSHH. 

A senior doctor said the department doesn’t admit critically injured and sick patients at SSH owing to lack of life supporting facilities there. 

Although the department has 10-bedded SICU ready for operation at SSH, it hasn’t been provided requisite staff of anesthetics, technicians and nurses. 

“In absence of manpower it (the SICU) is lying defunct which is the reason for not shifting operations of neurosurgery department to new hospital,” the doctor.

At the SSH, the lack of ventilators is also a “major hurdle” for the department to carry out surgeries. 

A source at the GMC said that while queues of patients requiring surgical interventions in cases related to brain, spine and other neurological ailments are getting longer, the department can only intervene in a “few cases”. 

As is usually norm in tertiary care hospitals, including SMHS, the department does not list patients for surgeries every day. Instead, doctors at the department carry out surgeries only once a week at SSH, the doctor said. 

As a result, only two or three neurosurgery patients are operated upon in a week at SSH. “Brain surgeries are laborious and often a single case takes several hours,” the doctor said.

Another doctor said that patients with brain tumors, victims of road accidents and those having firearm injuries to head and spine have to compete for a slot at Trauma Theatre in SMHS hospital where neurosurgery department continues to operate despite being “functional” at SSH.

Citing an example the doctor said last week, after three months of wait, a laborer with a malignant brain tumor had been given a date for surgery at SMHS Trauma Theatre after a long wait. 

However, when the laborer was being prepared for surgery, six people injured in road traffic accident at Pampore were rushed to the hospital. Two of them were taken to the Theatre for head injuries, forcing cancellation of the laborer’s surgery. “People like this poor laborer, who cannot afford treatment in private hospitals, are dying, unheard, because we don’t have a full-fledged neurosurgery department,” a senior faculty member of the medical college lamented.

In April this year, principal GMC Prof Samia Rashid had said that the process for recruiting staff to make the ICU at SSH functional had been started. But so far the assurances haven’t translated into action.


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