Patients suffer as admin fails to clear roads

While the hospitals across Kashmir kept staff stationed at their premises in view of the difficulty in movement of vehicles posed by incessant snowfall for the past four days, patient footfall reduced drastically, un-cleared roads posing hurdles.

Reports of people facing unprecedented difficulties in reaching the health facilities continued to pour in from across the districts of Kashmir on Wednesday. At Kellar Shopian, a woman gave birth on the roadside while she was being carried to SDH Keller. Dr Ramesh Kumar, CMO Shopian said, “Kellar area has been inaccessible and the woman was later admitted to the hospital. Thankfully both mother and the baby are doing fine.” Meanwhile reports of an elderly man from Keller succumbing enroute to hospital were also received this evening. Dr Kumar said he was ascertaining the details.

At SKIMS Soura, only about 200 patients were seen in OPD on Wednesday. The number was a steep drop from the 400 patients that had been seen on Tuesday and 700 patients who had made it to hospital on Monday. Medical Superintendent SKIMS Soura, Dr Farooq Jan said routine surgeries were carried out for the past two days but had to be cancelled today due to many patients unable to make it to the hospital. He said the hospital was functioning “as usual” and there was no dearth of staff. “We have been able to ferry our staff to the hospital in our Institute transport,” he said. He however agreed that patients have been unable to make it to the tertiary care facility.

At Lal Ded Hospital, the administration said the staff had been stationed at the premises for the past three days. “Ours is kind of an emergency facility. We need to be geared up to cater to any load in such a scenario,” Dr Shabir Siddiqui, medical superintendent of the hospital said. He said the footfall on Tuesday was low but “picked up on Wednesday afternoon”. At SMHS Hospital, where ‘power outages’ were reported, the hospital administration said, “District authorities helped in ensuring water and power supply on a fast track basis. We have been able to keep all our services available and ambulances were kept available for inter-hospital movement wherever necessary.”

Director Health Services Kashmir Dr. Sameer Mattoo said, “Adequate supply of medicines, disposables, consumable and staff had been ensured.” He further added that district administrations had put access roads as priority areas but in hilly districts people were facing difficulty in reaching. “The snowfall has been pretty intense and road clearance does take some time. We are trying to respond to every emergency,” he said.