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‘Normalcy’ stretches healthcare to limit DANISH NABI

The insiders at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) told Kashmir Times that the average number of patients visiting the Out Patient Department (OPD) on a ‘normal’ day was 2000 which, at times, goes up to 2500 even. “On a routine day we see 1700 to 1800 patients in the OPD. But at present we on average receive 300 to 500 patients more on every curfew and hartal free day,” medical superintendent SKIMS, Dr M Amin Tabish said.

The increased rush is forcing the hospital to put all its resources into use lest the patients will have to return dejected. However, the time given to each patient has shrinked. “We have a capacity of seeing 2000 patients on a routine day so we have put all our resources into use in order to cope up with the rush. But yes definitely a patient gets about four to five minutes with a doctor because everyone is to be accommodated keeping in view the situation,” Dr Tabish said.

Healthcare has been the worst causality in the unrest prevailing in the Valley since June 11. While dozens of civilian injuries each day put tremendous pressure on the hospitals, the restrictions on the movement of doctors, paramedics and ambulances badly hampered the healthcare facilities. “We are over-burdened beyond limits but we have to manage,” Dr Tabish said.

The situation in the sole maternity hospital, Lal Ded (LD) Hospital, is suffering on similar lines. The doctors at the hospital said nearly 100 to 150 patients more than the routine drop-in in the OPD on a ‘normal’ day. “Normally we receive around 200 patients in the OPD but these days average influx is between 300 and 350,” they said.

To manage with the rush, hospital administration often has to seek assistance in manpower from other units. “We have limited manpower which is forced to manage enhanced patient influx. Therefore, every ‘normal’ day we have to call in medicos from other units to manage rush in the OPD,” doctors said.

Even the number of routine and elective surgeries conducted at the hospital witness gets a boost, pushing to wall the post operative care facilities. Doctors said nearly 45 surgeries were conducted at the hospital on a ‘normal’ day “which is almost double than normal.” “We have 650 beds in the post operative care ward and each has two patients on it. Also the paramedic staff is struggling to cope up with the rush,” they said.