Snow-covered roads affect movement of patients to hospitals across Kashmir

Patients across Kashmir faced extreme difficulties in reaching healthcare facilities today as incessant snowfall kept roads to hospitals inaccessible. Many health administrators complained of slow pace of snow clearance.

“We had many patients who were brought to hospital on cots (charpoys). We also sent ambulances to some patients,” a doctor working in Shopian said.

CMO Kupwara Dr Kounsar Amin said that they had ensured that adequate staff was stationed at the hospital but “the footfall (of patients) has reduced significantly”. She said that many of the patients had reached the hospital using ambulances running under 108 service.

CMO Kulgam, Dr Fazil Kotchak, said that the hospital had sought and received help of the administration in ferrying emergency cases to the hospital. “We have put chains over the tyres of two of our ambulances, and today these were used continuously. The admin helped in clearing the roads wherever there was difficulty,” he said.

In Bandipora district, the administration said that the staff had been stationed at the hospital to reduce the need of referral. “The road from here to Srinagar is difficult and snowfall is making it difficult to send patients,” an administrator said.

Greater Kashmir received calls from many distressed families who were unable to make it to hospitals.

The main hospitals in Srinagar too had difficulty in access. At Chest Disease Hospital, which is located on a hilltop, vehicles were unable to reach.

The patients said that the SMHS Hospital, the Bone and Joint Hospital, the SKIMS Medical College Hospital and other health facilities, had partly cleared roads making movement of vehicles difficult. “For those, who had no vehicle of their own, it was not possible to reach hospital today,” a caller told Greater Kashmir.

An attendant who was travelling from Sopore to Srinagar, said that it took three hours for them to reach Lal Ded Hospital. “My sister was in labour but we were in an ambulance and it took over three hours for us to reach her as the highway had not been cleared,” he said.

Meanwhile, some doctors urged the patients to call their nearest health center for assistance in case of an emergency. “They should not carry patients on shoulders as it can lead to deterioration of the condition,” a senior doctor said.