Meant to provide tertiary care maternity health facilities, the Lala Ded (LD) Hospital in Srinagar remains bursting at seams which has led to the never ending complaints from the patients admitted at the hospital.
Against the intake of 700 patients, more than 1500 patients are admitted in the hospital which is Kashmir’s largest tertiary care Gynaecology and Obstetrics facility, which leads to congestion in the hospital besides having apprehensions of spread of the infections among the patients.
Besides the IPD sections, the OPD section of the department always remains congested as more than 800-1000 patients visit the hospital for check up.
“We have 700 allotted space and 1500 patients are admitted here. Under these circumstances it becomes very difficult to manage the patient care. Besides Kashmir we receive patients from Rajouri and Poonch area as well, We cannot refuse or send back any patient from the hospital,” Medical Superintendent Muzaffar Sherwani told Greater Kashmir.
Besides the routine patients, the hospital receives countless referral cases from peripheries, adding burden on the available staff.
These referral cases at times are unjustified cases which can be managed at the district or sub-district level hospitals.
“Once the patient reaches the hospital, we cannot ask him to go back. We have to think about the two lives- mother and the baby,” he said.
Notably, the J&K government has put a spotlight on rural healthcare with an aim to decrease the burden of referrals on the hospitals in towns and cities.
But the unnecessary referrals continue and overburden the doctors and paramedics at LD hospital despite the fact that the patients would get treatment for their ailments in district hospitals as well.
With the uncontrolled rush, one often sees three patients accommodated on a single bed at LD hospital in general wards and the situation in labour rooms of the hospital depict the lack of space. At times patients with their attendants are seen struggling in corridors.
The hospital is in dire need of additional space as all the patients cannot afford a private doctor and private nursing home which has become a costly affair.
Amid the huge rush at the LD hospital, the government has initiated the process for expansion of the hospital by adding up some additional space to it.
“Recently, I was asked about the land required for expansion. I asked the government to provide 100 kanals of land so that another spacious facility is set up to cater to the patient rush,” MS LD hospital said.
There is a lack of maternity care in peripheral hospitals where barely OPD facilities for gynae patients are available which force the patients to reach LD hospital for their treatment.
The overcrowding and congestion at the LD hospital can put the Neonates at risk as there are chances of spreading of the infection which can prove fatal to the new born babies.
Notably, around 40 deliverers are conducted at LD on a daily basis including some C-sections and normal ones which becomes a herculean task for the doctors and the paramedic staff to manage the proper health care for patients and the new born babies amid the space constraints.
Besides the rush of patients, the hospital also remains congested with the flow of attendants and general visitors rushing to the hospital to care for the patients or to meet them.
“This is another issue here, a single patient has around three attendants along and when all of them enter the wards or premises, it will obviously make it overcrowded. Our problem is that we cannot deny entry of attendants inside the hospital given the condition of the patients,” Dr Sherwani said.
On top of it, all the attendants carry their vehicles inside the hospital premises adding to the congestion as the hospital has no spacious parking space to accommodate the vehicles.
Also, the overall sanitation is not up to the mark in the hospital which raises questions on the hospital authorities over maintaining hygiene in the hospitals and the washrooms of the hospitals.
The hospital also has open drains which produce foul smell which can result in spread of several diseases to the patients and visitors.
The hospital has open drains and filthy washrooms, despite the government directions to maintain hygiene of washrooms and to have closed drainage systems in the hospitals.
“I have written to the Chief Engineer (CE) UEED department about the uncovered drains as we have directions to have closed drains. But the UEED department has claimed that their job is to clean the drain but not to construct new ones,” Medical superintendent LD hospital said.
“Now I have taken up the matter with the CE R&B and JKPCC department,” he said.
About the maintenance of the toilet blocks and washrooms, he said the sanitation staff regularly maintains it as per the government directions.
“We have government directions to maintain hygiene of the toilet block and washrooms, we are trying to adhere to the government directions in this regard,” he said.
To conclude, it would be imperative on part of the authorities to focus on augmenting maternity healthcare facilities in rural areas so that LD Hospital is de-congested.
Unnecessary referrals from peripheral hospitals should be avoided as much as possible. There is no better way to provide quality maternity care in hospitals.
The LG administration has already flagged rural healthcare as a priority area. It must make maternity healthcare as an integral part of this initiative which is expected to yield better results in near future.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.