Ordeal of a father

Greater Kashmir

We live in a stratified world where people belong to different levels. Every level has its own significance, an inherent functional character. Among these, doctors form one of the vital stratum, having an influential value.

GB Pant Hospital Srinagar is one of the premier institutions of our valley that caters to pediatric needs of thousands of people. The hospital has many features that mark it off from the rest of the institutions. But, some dark spots can eclipse the bright side of its character. And that needs to brought to notice.

It was 3rd December 2020, when I admitted my newborn baby boy to this hospital. He was vomiting intermittently. My baby was shifted to the neonatal intensive care unit 1(NICU 1) one the sensitive corners of the institution. While admitting my son, the ventilator was not available and the doctors advised me to pump oxygen manually till ventilator was available. I did the same and worked hard for hours to sustain the life of my son. Late in the evening ventilator was made available and I had a breath of respite; a hope to see my son improving.

But the story turned ugly as I received a call from the same unit that my son has suffered cardiac arrest. I was shocked to see the drift from extremely good to extremelu worse; this left me in a state of hopelessness. The fact is that no specialist was available except a few doctors on internship who were working hard to save the life of my star. But they failed to handle the situation.

I don’t challenge the knowledge component of such doctors but I do challenge the ethical dimensions of their behavior; that is what kills the attendant as well as the patient. These doctors, at time behave in way that hampers their professional competence and functional productivity. They don’t carry out their work efficiently and that puts life at risk.

The purpose of this write-up is not to create problems for any body but to raise a call of awakening that if my son died a mysterious death, no one else’s should meet the same fate. At least senior doctors should come forward to handle such complications in a professional manner. But, unfortunately they believe visiting the wards frequently is against their mighty egos.They visit the wards in the morning but no one is available for the rest of the time to attend to the patients.

Another type of bad experience is “walsa de chai”; that is to give money to the lower staff once your ward is shifted from NICU 1 to ward 8 and then from ward 8 to 9 and then from ward 9 to home. You are being cordoned off to pay chai before your move to other place. Since attendants are already in a state of depression, such things further aggravate their miseries.

Such incidents do not suit a health institution where poor people are also found in abundance. There is a dire need to activate the institution and make it a hub of excellence and efficiency. Doctors of such institutions should be proactive and largely helpful to address the issues of patients. Doctor is one who is ready to help under any conditions andat any time he is asked to help. During complications they should come forward to lead the fight for life.

Life and death is in the hands of Allah but doctors have a responsibility that is more humanitarian than biological in nature. This is a wake up call for the doctors before it is too late and too catastrophic. You are the symbol of hope; don’t mar your reputation.

I make a humble request to the higher ups of the institution to look into the grievances and address the same; not just for my dead son but for all those parents whose kids are admitted there. Together we can do a lot!

Suhail Salam Bhat is Assistant Professor Higher Education Department.