Soon after 500 neonate deaths took place at GB Pant hospital here in 2012, the J&K government didn't agree to a proposal moved by the Government Medical College Srinagar to make operational two abandoned Operation Theatres at the hospital.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that in early 2013, the GMC moved the proposal to revamp the OTs and equip them with required machinery for starting the pediatric and neonatal surgeries at GB Pant hospital.
Anesthesia and equipment required for the theatres were procured and a Pediatric Surgeon was also made available at the hospital, they said.
However, as soon as the process started, the Government raised the issue of "inadequate space" for running the theatres.
Shockingly, the sources said, the Government also objected to provide pediatric surgeons, anesthetician, paramedics and other required staff for running the facility, citing a separate Pediatric Surgery Department is coming up at the Super Specialty Hospital at ShireenBagh here. The facility however has already missed four deadlines and the Government is yet to put in place the required faculty, except for one senior Pediatric Surgeon, at the upcoming department.
The Government's no to the proposal came at a time when GB Pant hospital was hogging the headlines for 500 infant and pediatric deaths allegedly owing to negligence of the administration headed by its then MS DrJavaidChoudhary and lack of facilities there.
"These two operation theaters were ideally placed in the hospital with ICU, recovery and ward facility attached to them," said a senior doctor.
There is also a separate corridor leading to the Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care units.
"It was perfect setting wherein neonates, requiring surgical interventions, could be shifted along with the life support system to the theatres without wastage of time," the sources said.
At present, in absence of a theatre in the hospital, the pediatric surgeries are being conducted at the SMHS while as SKIMS hospitals conduct neonatal and pediatric interventions.
As per the doctors, even when the pediatric facility will be started at the Super Specialty hospital, the problems won't end.
"There will be no Neonatal and Pediatric ICU at the Super Specialty Hospital to provide the requisite life support to the operated patients?" said a doctor.
In addition, there would also be a problem of shifting the critically-ill and emergency cases from GB Pant Hospital owing to distance and lack of Critical Care Ambulances.
At present the authorities at GB Pant are working to convert the two abandoned theatres into Microbiological Laboratory and Blood Bank which have been temporary relocated into Ward No 4, post floods.
Paradoxically, the GB Pant has a gynecological operation theatre but no pediatric theater.
"We are constrained by the MoU between Government and the Cantonment Board to use gynecological operation theatre for pediatric purposes," said a senior official of the GMC.
He said if the gynecological ward and its theatre could have been shut, the space would be used for pediatric surgeries.
Apart from the theater, a ward housing 30 beds has been dedicated for gynecological purposes in the GB Pant hospital.
However on a given day not more two patients are admitted in the ward.
"The space has gone waste when it could have been used for infants," said the official.