Kashmir’s trauma hospitals face govt neglect
Post by M Peerzada on Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Srinagar, Jan 23: The trauma hospitals in Kashmir are facing government neglect which has overshadowed cure for injuries due to road traffic accidents..
Over the years, the health department ‘designated trauma hospitals and centres’ but failed to provide the required services as these trauma facilities remain on papers only.
Even after the passing of 18 years, the Jammu and Kashmir Health Department is yet to operationalize Trauma Hospital Lawaypora on Srinagar-Baramulla Highway.
Residents of the area said the foundation stone of the facility was laid in 2004. Its building is ready but it hasn’t been made operational due to the failure of the health department.
The inhabitants of Lawaypora and its adjoining areas said when the hospital was sanctioned they had high hopes that it would help manage road traffic injuries on the highway.
Kaisar Wani, a resident of Lawaypora said a few years back the hospital building was completed and the people had appreciated the step of the government.
“It brought hope for people. We knew the hospital would bring a change. All knew that it would be a great opportunity to grow up business and unemployed youth were planning to open up clinical labs and pharmacies,” he said.
Another such hospital is trauma hospital Gund, Ganderbal, which is situated on Srinagar-Leh Highway. It was previously a PHC, later upgraded as a trauma hospital.
A senior doctor posted at the hospital said the facility has faced neglect over the years and failing to treat injuries caused due to road traffic accidents in the district.
“It faces a shortage of infrastructure. It has no blood bank, no CT scan, no MRI facility and no digital X ray. It is forcing doctors to refer stroke and trauma patients to Srinagar,” he said.
The doctor said the vital health facility lacks an intensive care unit and it has no emergency theater due to which doctors are unable to deliver their services.
“These are vital facilities for a trauma hospital. Rural trauma care is just on paper. There are no facilities available. Patients are bearing the brunt. We are compelled to refer them to Srinagar hospitals,” the doctor said. Locals said shortage of paramedical staff causes inconvenience to the patients.
Few years back, the health department designated trauma hospitals at Gund Ganderbal, Pattan, Lawaypora, Rafiabad, Anantnag and Kazigund. But all these trauma care centres are on papers only.
The emergency hospital Kazigund, which is situated on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, is also facing infrastructure issues with doctors saying they can’t handle serious injuries.
“The highway is prone to road accidents. We can’t handle critical patients. We have no intensive care unit and no ventilator here,” a doctor at the facility told Rising Kashmir.
The hospital is also facing manpower and infrastructure issues due to lack of which they are unable to deliver critical care services.
“We are compelled to shift the critical patients to Srinagar hospitals for treatment and most of them lose golden hours while on the way and die,” he said.
Similarly, the trauma care cum sub-district hospital in north Kashmir’s Pattan township, has the same story as it faces shortage of critical care facilities and lacks manpower.
A doctor at the Pattan hospital said patients, especially those who meet accidents on the Srinagar-Muzzarabad Highway, die while they are shifted to Srinagar hospitals for treatment.
Mudasir Ahmad, a resident of Pattan, said it is a nightmare when road accidents happen on the highway and they often struggle to make way for ambulances in traffic jams in the town.
“Due to lack of critical care treatment in the entire north Kashmir, patients die on the way to Srinagar hospitals. This is very unfortunate,” he said.
A senior official of the health department wishing anonymity said the trauma hospitals were only designated and lack of proper planning is hitting the trauma care services in the valley.
“These are not trauma hospitals. These are felicitation centres or first aid centres. These have been wrongly designated as trauma hospitals,” he said. The official said even there is no designated trauma hospital in Kashmir in one roof.
“Trauma hospitals along the National Highway-1 at every 20 kilometres are required with adequately trained staff and critical care ambulances,” he said.
Spokesperson Directorate of Health Services Kashmir, Dr Mir Mushtaq said the upgradation of trauma care services is a priority for the department.
“We are monitoring it continuously and within some time there will be more improvement. We will try to make these trauma institutions functional in a proper way and for the best satisfaction of the public within the given resources,” he said.
Officials also informed that there are three categories of trauma hospitals: level-1, level-2 and level-3. SKIMS Srinagar, SMHS and Super Specialty hospitals come under level-1 category. The trauma centres fall level-3 hospitals and are meant for minor critical services.