March 2005 News

This Hospital Adds To Trauma

19 March 2005
The Indian Express

Srinagar: A frail old woman clutching at some blankets paces up and down the corridor. Oblivious of her surroundings, she sings and talks to herself. Mentally-challenged and homeless, nobody knows her name, but she has become an essential presence in the Bones and Joints hospital. The hospital, catering to 500-odd patients daily, has become an important place during the last 15 years of turmoil. With gun battles, grenade attacks and IED explosions becoming a daily affair, the Bones and Joints Hospital is the first stop of all the victims of violence. It has virtually turned into a trauma centre where doctors and para medics work round the clock, extracting splinters and stitching wounds. But for a place as crucial as this, the Bones and Joints Hospital is wanting in more ways than one. This is also a place where deadly infections lurk round the corner. The hospital's backyard has been turned into a dumping ground for dry waste. Today, it is a breeding ground for disease and infections. No less than six quintals of dry waste from the hospital finds its way here every day. As for the incinerator, it has been out of order for years now. 'Yes, the waste is dumped here,' admits Ghulam Rasool Sheikh, sanitation incharge. 'We do burn it, even so it remains here for several days. Sometimes the municipality vehicle comes to lift it once in five days. At times, it comes once a week,' he says. Sheikh says he realises that they are inviting infection and diseases by dumping waste right in the premises, 'but what can we do? ' he asks. Meanwhile, patients complain of fumes emanating from the pile of waste set on fire by hospital staff. 'We can't even breath,' says Mohammad Rafiq Dar, who is lying on a bed with his right foot in a plaster. Medical Superintendent Sheikh Abdul Rashid admits that disposal of waste is a problem, especially as the incinerator has been lying defunct for years. 'The hospital had sent a requisition to the government for a new incinerator two years ago, but it hasn't been sanctioned yet,' says Rashid. 'So the only available option with us is to either burn the waste ourselves or wait for the municipal vehicle to remove it from here.' An incinerator, he says costs Rs 8 lakh. 'It will solve a big problem.' There are other problems too. There are no wheelchairs and only a 'few old stretchers which are of no use anymore,' says an employee. Which is the why 25-year-old Haleema Akhter has no choice but to ride her brother piggyback while leaving the hospital. Akhter's fractured leg was operated upon recently, but there is no wheelchair for her. Now step into Unit-I. Like Lal Ded, here also dozens of people can be seen sitting on blankets spread on the floor sipping tea and having lunch in the corridor. The leftovers are dumped in the corners of the corridor as there are no bins. 'There was a pantry for preparing food, but it has been turned into an emergency operation theatre,' says MS Rasheed.'We are setting up a new pantry very soon. That will solve this problem,' he adds. On whys and wherefores of mismanagement, Dr Muzzafar Ahmad says, 'The rush of patients has increased manifold, but the staff strength is the same. The emergency alone receives about 10 to 20 patients everyday.' Deputy Medical Superintendent P.M. Syed says, 'We have proposed that new posts ne created.' Supporting him, Sheikh Abdul Rasheed says that the hospital has enough doctors, but there is a shortage of paramedics, sweepers, gatekeepers and nursing orderlies. 'There are three lecturers, three assistant professors, two associate professors, two professors and eight registrars, besides post- graduate students and house surgeons. We have 40 staff nurses, while we need 55,' he says, while explaining that there is no shortage of doctors.


Return to the Archives 2005 Index Page

Return to Home Page