The other side of the story too is disturbing
Srinagar: Lalla Ded hospital has always been in news mostly for wrong reasons. The telling circumstances under which the hospital is functioning when it comes to the maternity care, never gets a mention, rather public bashing always remains ready made.
While the incident that occurred at LD on Friday is shocking, the other dynamics are being out rightly overlooked.
This is to be mentioned that the LD is the only maternity care hospital in the valley, catering to the enormous needs of the population from the region, and at times people from Jammu region also throng to the hospital for treatment.
With LD is catering to the huge patient needs, there have always been the cases of what is usually termed as ‘medical negligence.’ There are dynamics to this term as well and these must be understood.
A doctor told ‘Kashmir Vision’ that if a patient from the far-flung area of Kupwara develops complication, nobody is ready to treat that patient, “rather the patient is referred to Srinagar, especially LD,” he said.
It is to be mentioned here that most of the hospitals in peripheries remain open till 4 and after that all the cases are referred to Srinagar, “and the maternity cases, even without complications, are directly referred to Srinagar, and those with complications go without any question,” he said.
SKIMS being a premier healthcare institute in the state cannot stand a comparison with LD hospital when it comes to the maternity care. A case in point being that SKIMS till a month ago did not had a CTG machine for its maternity wing, while LD performs the same tests in bulk and that too just in 24 hours.
“The hospital is over-burdened, with the patients thronging to LD from across the Valley, it does not stop ever; with such a load and patient rush things go out of way,” another doctor said, adding that “Friday incident cannot be justified, but the problem is somewhere else, which nobody is looking at.”
He further said, that when it comes to the alleged negligence, that always has a root somewhere else, “whenever there is a patient with complications referred from Kupwara, the patient should have got the treatment at a nearby hospital, but that is not possible and does not happen, because no such manpower is available in the peripheries, apart from the infrastructure, when the patient reaches Srinagar, complications get worse and what happens after that is what everybody knows,” he said.
The incident that occurred on Friday at LD, wherein a doctor refused the treatment to a patient and asked the family to leave, is something which cannot be justified. To ascertain the circumstances the hospital administration has ordered an inquiry, plus, the government also ordering an inquiry.
The Medical Superintendent of the hospital Dr Shabir Siddiquie has assured tough action against the doctor, but again the genesis of the Friday incident can be traced to the fact that the rural healthcare needs a serious up gradation, particularly in terms of maternity care.
“What happened on Friday cannot be justified ever, but, for a moment, suppose that the healthcare services in the area were vibrant and up to the mark of what was needed, there would not have been any need to refer the patient to Srinagar and the incident would not have occurred,” another doctor, wishing not to be named, said, adding that “such incidents present doctors in a bad picture, and should not have happened.”
While there was, and still is a need of maternity hospitals—one is south Kashmir and another in north Kashmir—the government came up with a maternity care hospital yet again in Srinagar at Bemina—a 250 bedded maternity care hospital—still hoping to see the light of the day. Though, infrastructure has been created, but the problem is still not addressed at all.
President Doctors’ Association of Kashmir (DAK) Dr Suhail Naik, while terming the Friday incident as shameful, said that there were other dimension to the problem which is always being ignored, “that dimension is that the rural healthcare needs up gradation, a maternity case without complications or with complications should be handled there in the peripheries and not to over-burden the already burdened hospital in Srinagar,” he said.
He said that while the government has been claiming that it will provide the healthcare to people at their door-steps, “people are forced to travel distances to avail the services,” he said.
The other dimension being those politicians who are expressing outrage over the incident; while they are terming the incidents as shameful and demand probe, they themselves seem to have failed in upgrading the healthcare when they were in power.
“These politicians must be punished who loot state exchequer for their personal gains and thereby put lives of commoners at risk. We should go into deep why such incidents happen constantly, the reason behind should be addressed and accordingly the responsibility should be fixed,” wrote a Facebook user.
If the up gradation of the rural healthcare seems to be an uphill task, some doctors are of the opinion that a parallel maternity care hospital can help in decreasing the load on LD and at the same provide a helping hand in offering the healthcare services: maternity care.
“To begin with, why not to enhance the infrastructure and manpower at the maternity care hospital at SKIMS, that can make a difference,” a doctor said, adding that “something is to be worked out soon.”