Reyaz Rashid

7 injured skiers brought to Srinagar as Gulmarg hospital has no orthopedic

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Gulmarg, Feb 10: Imagine a premier skiing resort being without the requisite medical facilities to deal with the sporting injuries. You guessed it right — it is Gulmarg.

On Monday itself seven skiers suffered bone injuries of varied types – from minor dislocations to fractures — while skiing at the slopes of Gulmarg. And all of them had to be evacuated to Srinagar hospitals because there is no provision for dealing with bone injuries at the primary health centre at the skiing resort.

Besides the tourists including some foreigners, currently hundreds of school children and college students are undergoing various courses in skiing at Gulmarg. And interestingly, most of these courses are being conducted by different government agencies including the Department of Youth Services and Sports, and Tourism Department. Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering besides some private and government–run educational institutions and universities are also conducting courses.

Skiing is an adventure sport and therefore injuries are just part of the game. “But if the government is conducting skiing courses at Gulmarg, it should ensure that the requisite facilities for dealing with injuries are also put in place there. But I am told that there is no orthopedician at the Gulmarg hospital, which makes it a very dangerous place for skiing,” said Kalpana Sharma, a tourist from Delhi, who is here for a tryst with skiing.

“I was shocked to know that Gulmarg hospital has nobody to deal with bone injuries. My son suffered a fall today and dislocated his shoulder and he had to be brought to Srinagar for medical help. Had I known it before hand, I would never ever have allowed him to go for skiing to Gulmarg,” said Mohammad Ramzan, a parent from Sopore town whose son was among the ones injured today.

“It is true that there is no orthopedician at the Gulmarg hospital, and this makes it a very dangerous place. Because, it means that even in case of minor injuries, the people have to be evacuated to Srinagar hospitals for treatment. Common sense is that the delay in medical help could prove dangerous,” said a skiing instructor with a private school who didn’t want to be named.

Confirming that seven people who had suffered injuries today had to be brought to Srinagar for treatment, the officials of Youth Services and Sports department said they had recently flagged the issue with Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Baramulla when the official had visited Gulmarg past week in connection with a campaign about coronavirus.

“But she (CMO) snubbed us at the time saying that it was not the time for raising the demand for an orthopedic expert,” said an official.

“Educating people about the coronavirus threat is OK, but fact of the matter is that immediate concern at the skiing resort should be putting in place wherewithal to deal with sporting injuries, and that too when skiing season is at its peak and the resort is agog with sporting activity. But nobody seems to be bothered about the actual dangers posed, and problems caused by the lack an orthopedic at the hospital here,” said an official.

When asked about the lack of an orthopedic at Gulmarg Primary Health Centre, CMO Baramulla Dr. Deeba said, “I have already ordered for three orthopedics to be posted at Gulmarg on rotational basis of ten days each (a month). I will see why is it that the resort still lacks an orthopedic; rest assured the expert doctor will be made available.”

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